Daily Mail

Landmark ban for fan who sent racist abuse


A mAn who racially abused Brentford striker Ivan Toney on social media has been handed a landmark ban from every UK football stadium for three years, and a suspended prison sentence. Antonio neill, 24, sent the vile message to Toney via Instagram last October, after the forward had scored against Brighton. It was described by a judge as ‘exceptiona­lly offensive’ and with ‘racial overtones’.

Toney shared the abuse publicly, prompting a police investigat­ion. neill, from Blyth, northumber­land, pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message and apologised to Toney (below) in court.

He was given a four-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. neill is also the first person to be banned from every UK stadium under the police, crime, sentencing and courts act 2022, legislatio­n brought in to widen the scope of banning orders for online hate crimes.

The ban covers clubs in the Premier League, Championsh­ip, Leagues One and Two and the national League, as well as to England home internatio­nals, qualifiers and overseas tournament­s. ‘I’m pleased that racial abuse ends in court,’ said Brentford boss Thomas Frank.

‘I think the sentence could be harder but it’s a good step in the right direction to show there’s no room for racism. Hopefully it’s a reminder to social media companies they can do more.’

A club statement added: ‘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.’

Kick It Out said: ‘This is a landmark decision which we hope will set the standard for similar cases going forward.’

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