Chelsea fan gets three-year football ban for racist gesture at Son Heung-min
A Chelsea fan has been given a stadium ban for racially abusing Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min during a match at Stamford Bridge.
Thomas Burchell, 30, of The Glade, Croydon, south London, made a racist gesture when the South Korean forward went to take a corner during a 2-2 Premier League draw on August 14.
He was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Burchell was fined £726 at the City of London Magistrates’ Court, with the CPS saying the sum was increased to reflect the racially aggravated element of the offence.
He was also issued with an order banning him from attending live football games for three years.
Chelsea identified Burchell after images of the incident were shared on social media and reported to Kick it Out, a group working to tackle racism in football.
Burchell admitted making the gesture when police confronted him with the evidence.
After the sentencing, senior crown prosecutor Kalsoom Shah said: “Football is a passionate sport but racist abuse will never be allowed to mar the game.
“We know people who are responsible for these actions are part of a small minority and we will continue to encourage anyone who sees or experiences this kind of behaviour to report it to the police and help us rid football of racism.
Racist gestures and abuse are not just hurtful, they prevent other fans and players from enjoying the sport and cause real damage to the heart of the game
Lionel Idan, national hate crime lead
“Burchell’s offensive gesture means that he can longer see his team play live.”
Lionel Idan, the chief crown prosecutor for London South and national hate crime lead, said “all forms of hate crime will not be tolerated whether within or outside a football ground”.
He said prosecutors will “not hesitate to take people to court and seek harsher sentences so that justice is served” in cases where legal tests show it is merited.
He said: “Racist gestures and abuse are not just hurtful, they prevent other fans and players from enjoying the sport and cause real damage to the heart of the game.
“The CPS continues to play a crucial role in tackling such crimes and making our national game inclusive and safe for all to watch and play.”