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Crawley fan charged over Munich air disaster gesture

A 19-year-old man has been charged by police after a fan of non-league Crawley Town FC allegedly mocked the Munich air disaster in a video for their official FA Cup song.

James Butler, from Beeches Crescent, Crawley, West Sussex, was charged under the Public Order Act on suspicion of using threatening, abusive or insulting words with intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress, police said.

The charge followed complaints by Manchester United fans about the reworking of The Specials' hit A Message To You, Rudy, adapted by musician Mike Dobie with the new title A Message To You, Rooney.

Crawley Town posted the video on their official website and YouTube to mark their clash with United at Old Trafford in the fifth round of the FA Cup on February 19.

But officials at the West Sussex club failed to realise that one of the people dancing by the stage made frequent apparent aircraft gestures about the Munich tragedy.

The man also held up his fingers to count one, then nine, then five and eight to symbolise 1958, the year when 23 people died when the plane carrying United's team crashed on its way back from a European Cup tie against Red Star Belgrade.

A Sussex Police spokesman said Butler will appear on bail at Crawley Magistrates' Court on March 3 after being charged this afternoon.

He said: "Butler was arrested by police in Crawley on 14 February following a complaint about part of the content of a music video produced to support Crawley Town Football Club in its FA Cup run.

"He was subsequently released on police bail and was charged when he answered to that bail this afternoon."