Ba­nana-throw­ing Spurs fan will not face racism charge

Tehran Times - - WORLD SPORTS -

The Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur fan who threw a ba­nana skin onto the pitch at the Emi­rates Sta­dium as Arse­nal for­ward Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang cel­e­brated scor­ing a penalty in front of Tot­ten­ham fans will not be charged with a racist of­fence.

Averof Pan­teli -- a 57-year-old grand­fa­ther -- will face a charge of throw­ing a mis­sile af­ter po­lice judged it not to be a racially ag­gra­vated of­fence.

Pan­teli -- who says he will plead guilty to the charge when he is in court on De­cem­ber 18 -- has also been in­formed by Tot­ten­ham he will be banned from their games for life.

“The po­lice were happy to say it was not racism,” he told The Sun. “I phoned Tot­ten­ham to apol­o­gise and they said they would be get­ting in touch with me to ban me for life.”

Pan­teli, who says his only pre­vi­ous brush with the au­thor­i­ties was when he ran onto the Spurs pitch aged 14 and was ejected from the sta­dium, said he had been irked by Aubameyang cel­e­brat­ing in front of the Tot­ten­ham fans.

The Gabonese star’s spot-kick gave Arse­nal an early lead and the Gun­ners even­tu­ally ran out 4-2 win­ners.

“I am not racist what­so­ever,” said Pan­teli.

“I am ac­tu­ally a Greek Cypriot. I am 100 per­cent not a racist. I swear on my kids’ lives that I am not that kind of guy.

“The Arse­nal player was gloat­ing in front of the away fans. He came up to­wards the away fans about 10 me­tres away and he is ba­si­cally nod­ding his head and clap­ping at us.

“With­out think­ing, I picked up this ba­nana skin from the ground and threw it on the edge of the pitch.

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