Jail term may make Cantona quit UK
Friday 24 March 1995
There were gasps in Croydon magistrates' court yesterday as the sentence was handed down and Cantona was led to a cell beneath the court in south London.
Within three hours, however, Cantona, 28, was freed on bail pending an appeal against his sentence. He had pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault after his attack on Matthew Simmons, 20, at Selhurst Park, the home of Crystal Palace Football Club, on 25 January.
Jean-Jacques Amorfini, Cantona's agent, said: "We are dumbfounded and absolutely shocked. I think people are trying to make Cantona disgusted with England and, obviously, I believe he is going to have to leave the country." Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards said he was shocked by the sentence and the club's star striker had now been punished three times for one offence.
In a statement read out to the court by his barrister, David Poole QC, Cantona said he had been "angry and frustrated" at being sent off mid- way through the game and was leaving the pitch when he heard Mr Simmons shouting racist abuse.
Mr Simmons, who Jeffery McCann, prosecuting, said ran down 11 rows to taunt Cantona, is to face public order charges.
Cantona said Mr Simmons' face was "contorted with hatred" and he was hurling abuse. "This, with my additional frustration [at being sent off], caused me to react in a way I now deeply regret by jumping up and kicking out at the man's chest," he said.
In mitigation, Mr Poole said Cantona had already been punished, having been fined two weeks' wages, £10,800, by his club and given club and Football Association bans that would keep him out of the game until October.
But the magistrates said the only appropriate sentence was jail. "You are a high profile figure with undoubted gifts and as such you are looked up to by young people," the chairwoman told Cantona. The magistrates turned down an application for bail pending an appeal against sentence, but bail was later granted on a £500 surety by a Crown Court judge. The appeal will be heard in eight days.
Paul Ince, another Manchester United player, pleaded not guilty at the same court yesterday to common assault during the Selhurst Park fracas. He will be tried in May.
Gordon Taylor, leader of the Professional Footballers' Association, said that the court had made an example of Cantona because of his fame.
Leading article, page 18
Further reports, page 40
New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday
Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy
New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain
- 1 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 2 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 3 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 4 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...
£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...