Man City fan tried to invade pitch at Champions League final in 'prank' to win £250k

Yevhenii Lubnenko
-Credit: (Image: No credit)

A 29-year-old man tried to invade the pitch at the Champions League final at Wembley as part of a 'prank' after vlogger Mellstroy offered £250,000 for anyone who could successfully do it. He has been banned from football matches in the UK for three years.

Ukranian Yevhenii Lubnenko was wearing a T-shirt bearing the vlogger's name when stewards stopped him from getting onto the turf less than three minutes after Saturday's kick-off, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Monday, June 3.

The Uber driver who was unable to give the court a UK address, saying 'I do not remember, I am here for a few days' pleaded guilty to going on to the playing area at a football match contrary to Section 4 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991.

The charge said Lubnenko, who had been in custody since Saturday's match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, had without lawful authority or lawful excuse gone on to an area adjacent to the field of play where spectators were not permitted.

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During the hearing, he said the challenge had been set up by a Belarusian vlogger, reportedly based in Moscow, who had offered the cash to people who invaded the pitch during the high-profile game while wearing a T-shirt with his name on it.

Photographs from the match showed two intruders with the name Mellstroy written in black and white across their chests running onto the field.

District Judge Michael Snow told Lubnenko: "The real villain is the Russian who is offering around 300,000 dollars in the UK to do what you regard as a prank. I cannot punish him because he is not here.

"You recognise that this was a major sporting event for the UK. It was an important club football match in Europe that takes place in any year. The eyes of Europeans and many people around the world are on the match and they want to watch the match uninterrupted.

"The players taking part in that match are taking part in an important match in their career."

The judge told Lubnenko that 'your behaviour, you being one of three (people), may have affected their concentration in what was one of the most important matches of their career'.

Lubnenko was also fined £1,000 which was cut to £660 as credit for his guilty plea, along with £85 costs and a £264 witness surcharge.

The judge ruled the fine and costs were covered by his time in custody and Lubnenko was ordered to pay the surcharge.

Lubnenko, a Manchester City supporter, had told the court he had come to England to watch the match and maybe do some shopping or see the city as he 'had never been to London before'.

After questions from the judge about what he expected would happen once he got onto the pitch, Lubnenko said he thought he would be thrown out of the ground.

The judge told him: "I appreciate that you did not manage it (to get on to the pitch). You did not really come to the watch the match because you would be kicked out before the game got going, so you came here for the money. Is that fair or not fair?"

Lubnenko responded: "Yes, that's fair."

The judge said the banning order means Lubnenko cannot attend any football matches in the UK for three years, warning him: "So don't go, even if it is to see Manchester City."

In slightly broken English, Lubnenko apologised 'to everyone in the stadium and the players' saying he was 'very sorry about what I tried to do'.

He said the banning order was 'fair', adding: "I stood in a room in a police station and for me that was one of the worst day of my life that was big punishment for me."

Lubnenko, who arrived in England on Friday and was due to leave on Monday, is set to fly out of the country within days to see relatives in Germany.

Earlier the Metropolitan Police said David Carneckij, 28, and a 16-year-old boy have also been accused of going on to the playing area at a football match contrary to Section 4 of the Football (Offences) Act 1991.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is to appear at Highbury Corner Youth Court on June 24.

The force said inquiries continue into two other people arrested in connection with the incident.

Police made 56 arrests around the game most of which were for attempts to breach security.