Three-year football ban for Sunderland fan who made monkey gesture at Romela Lukaku


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The Independent Online

A football fan who directed racist monkey gestures at a striker who had just scored against his Premier League team has been banned from attending matches for three years.

Sunderland supporter Liam Jones, 22, was also given an 18-month conditional discharge after he admitted causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

Jones, from East Vines in Hendon, was watching his team losing 2-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion when Belgian international Romelu Lukaku stepped up to score a penalty.

The fan could be seen shouting and cupping his hands towards his armpits in the background of photographs showing Lukaku celebrating his goal, in the game at the Stadium of Light on 24 November last year which Sunderland went on to lose 4-2.

Jones later told reporters he was doing a “chicken dance” and pleaded not guilty when the charge of a racially aggravated offence came before Sunderland magistrates.

A trial had been due to take place next month, but at a hearing last week the 22-year-old decided to plead guilty. Court officials confirmed he was given a three year football banning order and an 18-month conditional discharge.

Following a previous court hearing, Jones was photographed posturing as if he was going to spit towards members of the media.

After the case, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill of Northumbria Police, said: “Racist behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated and Northumbria Police will fully investigate any reports made to us.

“We know people who are responsible for these actions are part of a small minority and would continue to encourage anyone who sees this kind of behaviour to report it to us and help us rid football of any racism.”