A football supporter who chanted homophobic abuse at Chelsea fans during a Premier League match has been convicted of a hate crime and fined more than £400.
Nigel Carrington, 53, used two notorious slurs during a game between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on January 23, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Carrington pleaded guilty to two counts of using abusive and insulting words to cause harassment and distress at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, the CPS said.
He was fined £150 for each count and £119 in other costs.
Senior CPS prosecutor Luke Staton said: “No football fan should have to be subjected to vile homophobic abuse while watching a game that they love.
“These homophobic slurs are not harmless banter, they are unacceptable in this day and age and have a significant impact on LGBTQ+ communities.
“The CPS is absolutely committed to stamping out this type of behaviour. Hate crime has no place within society, let alone sport, and we will always aim to prosecute offenders.”
CPS sports lead prosecutor Douglas Mackay said: “The CPS has made clear to the police, football authorities, clubs and players that well-known homophobic slurs could be prosecuted as a hate crime, along with any other discriminatory language.
“Because we take hate crime so seriously, we will always ask for harsher sentences in these cases”.
Tracy Brown, chairman of Chelsea Pride, said the group has worked hard to ensure the slurs are considered a hate crime.
“Today having found out that a fan did plead guilty to this homophobic chant I feel the work that’s been done finally has some reward,” she said.
“We however need to continue working hard to keep homophobia, biphobia and transphobia out of football and society”.
Anyone who is a victim or witness of any hate crime is urged to report it to stadium staff or police.