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Home ยป Man Who Racially Abused Footballer Ivan Toney Banned From All UK Stadiums For Three Years In ‘landmark Ruling’

Man Who Racially Abused Footballer Ivan Toney Banned From All UK Stadiums For Three Years In ‘landmark Ruling’

A man who racially abused Brentford striker Ivan Toney has been banned from every football stadium in the UK for three years – in what police say is a “landmark ruling”.

Antonio Neill, 24, sent a racist message to Toney on his Instagram account after the forward scored two goals against Brighton in a Premier League match in October.

Police traced the message to Neill, from Blyth in the north of England, after Toney shared a picture of the abuse.

The ban covers clubs in the Premier League, the Championship, Leagues One and Two and the National League, as well as England home internationals, qualifying matches and tournaments played overseas.

Neill pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message when he appeared before magistrates in Newcastle on 25 January.

He has now been handed a four-month suspended sentence at the same court – in addition to the three-year banning order.

The order is the first to be issued under a government act which became law last year under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act.

Brentford said Toney had been “subject to sickening racist abuse on a regular basis” and called on social media companies to “make their platforms safe for all participants and to remove all hateful content”.

The club wants sentences to “increase in severity until this sort of crime is eradicated”.

Image: Brentford says Ivan Toney has been subject to ‘sickening racist abuse’ Northumbria Police said it was a “landmark ruling”, adding that officers had treated the message as a “hate crime”.

The legislation widened the scope for banning orders to be issued for online hate crimes “relating to a person with a prescribed connection to a football organisation”, the force explained.

Superintendent Scott Cowie, hate crime lead for Northumbria Police, said he was “delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offence has been reflected with this banning order”.

He continued: “I hope this reinforces our commitment to taking action against anybody who commits a hate crime.

“It will not be tolerated and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said that being “vile and abusive” to people from behind a screen “doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it – far from it”.

Brentford FC said it was “pleased to see the Antonio Neill case resolved and that Northumbria Police pursued this to a conclusion”.

“Ivan Toney has been subject to sickening racist abuse on a regular basis, and we want to see tough action taken against anyone found guilty of such abuse,” a club statement read.

“The club firmly believes there is no place for racial abuse in football and we continue to support and implement a zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour of any kind.”