English man who racially abused striker Ivan Toney banned from every British soccer stadium for 3 years
A man who racially abused Brentford striker Ivan Toney on social media has been banned from every football stadium in britain for three years in what police described Tuesday as a “landmark ruling.”
Antonio Neill sent a racist message to Toney on his Instagram account after the striker scored two goals against Brighton in a Premier League match on Oct. 14.
Police started an investigation after Toney shared a picture of the abuse and the message was traced to 24-year-old Neill, who lives in Blyth, a town in northern England.
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Neill appeared in a magistrates’ court in Newcastle on Jan. 25 and pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message.
On Monday, he was handed a four-month sentence suspended for two years as well as a three-year soccer banning order, the first to be issued under a government act which become law in 2022. That widened the scope for banning orders to be issued for online hate crimes relating to a person with a connection to a soccer organization.
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“If you are going to choose to be vile and abusive to others, doing it from behind a computer screen or on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it. Far from it,” Northumbria police and crime commissioner Kim McGuinness said in a statement released Tuesday.
The order forbids Neill from attending any regulated soccer match in Britain and also prevents him from traveling abroad to watch international friendlies, qualification matches and tournaments.
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Brentford said the club hopes sentences for online abuse will increase and called on social media companies to remove all hateful content to make their platforms safe for everyone.