Action taken following incident in FA Cup Quarter FinalFollowing an investigation by Thames Valley Police, a 36-year-old football supporter has been given a three-year Football Banning Order for racist abuse towards Royals forward Garath McCleary earlier this year.
In the 42nd minute of our FA Cup Quarter Final replay against Bradford City at Madejski Stadium on Monday 16th March 2015, McCleary was about to take a corner kick when he was subjected to racist abuse by the man in question, who was sitting in the away end of the stadium.
Following a trial earlier this week, which McCleary attended, the away supporter was found guilty by a district judge of one count of causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress which was racially aggravated and directed towards the winger.
On Wednesday afternoon, the man was issued with a three year Football Banning Order and a six week custodial sentence, suspended for a year, at Reading Magistrates’ Court.
Investigating officer, PC Richard Hester of the Thames Valley Police Football Operations team, said: “Thames Valley Police would like to praise the match officials and Reading Football Club safety staff, who reacted very quickly to this incident and reported it to the police. Their action led to the offender being arrested during half time.
“A thorough investigation was then conducted by Thames Valley Police and I would like to thank all officers and staff who helped to secure this conviction.
“Thames Valley Police take this sort of vile behaviour very seriously and we will look to obtain Football Banning Orders against those committing crimes at, or in connection with, football matches. I hope this sentence will act as a deterrent to the small minority who look to cause trouble at football matches.
“The three year Football Banning order prevents the man from attending any football match in England and Wales, and also requires him to surrender his passport when the England national team is playing matches abroad.
“The Force would like to thank the victim, Garath McCleary, for the professionalism he has shown throughout this matter. I hope this conviction will bring Garath some sense of justice.
“We would also like to thank Reading Football Club, the Football Association and the BBC for their co-operation with providing statements and video evidence which was used in the trial.”