A man who shouted racist abuse at a West Ham player during a match with Leeds United at Elland Road has been sentenced at court and given a football banning order.
Gary Hawkins, aged 52, of St James Mews, Armley, was convicted of a racially-aggravated public order offence over the incident on September 25 last year where he targeted West Ham player Michail Antonio from his seat in the East Stand.
Hawkins was also convicted of a further public order offence over threats he made to a nearby Leeds United fan who challenged him over the comments.
He was found guilty of both offences following a trial at Leeds Magistrates Court.
He was charged following an investigation by officers from Leeds District Suspect Management Unit.
At the point of his arrest, he was served with a Section 23 Notice under the Football Spectators Act 1989, which banned him from the ground pending the outcome of the court process.
He was sentenced by magistrates yesterday and given an eight-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, required to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £775 costs. He was also given a Football Banning Order which bans him from attending football matches for four years.
Superintendent Russ Hughes, Operations lead for the Leeds District, said: “Race hate crime such as this is truly abhorrent and can never be tolerated, whether at a football match or anywhere else in society.
“We will always take reports of hate crime seriously and do everything we can to support victims and take positive action against offenders.
“As we have seen with this incident, other fans will rightly take exception to this type of behaviour and are prepared to challenge it as completely unacceptable.
“We continue to work closely in partnership with the club and encourage anyone who encounters racist abuse or other hate crime to report it to us so we can take action and make sure those responsible face the consequences.”