Sunderland fan given three-year football stadium ban for racist outburst at Burton Albion game

Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.
Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium.

A football fan who hurled racist abuse at a Sunderland match has been banned from stadiums across the country.

Black Cats fan Anthony Sargeant, 52, was arrested and charged with a racially aggravated public order offence following an incident during Sunderland’s clash at Burton Albion in September 2018.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt of Northumbria Police.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt of Northumbria Police.

Sargeant, of High Hesleden, denied using racially aggravated, threatening or abusive words or behaviour, but was found guilty following a trial at Cannock Magistrates’ Court last month.

He received a fine and an application for a civil football banning order was approved.

He has now been banned from attending all regulated football matches in the UK for the next three years, which includes Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and Conference fixtures.

The banning order also prevents him from travelling abroad to watch international friendlies, qualification matches and tournaments.

I hope this banning order acts as a lesson to any supporter who chooses to get involved in racist or disruptive behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt

Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, said: “There is no place in society for racism, and by working with football clubs and forces across the country, we are committed to stamping out all forms of abuse.

“Sargeant’s behaviour was totally unacceptable and he is now forbidden from attending any regulated football match in the UK for the next three years.

“I hope this banning order acts as a lesson to any supporter who chooses to get involved in racist or disruptive behaviour.

“The overwhelming majority of football fans in the North East are well-behaved and among the most passionate supporters in the world. In recent years, our fans have worked closely with police and partners, and that positive relationship has continued throughout the 2018/19 campaign so far.

“We would encourage any individual who witnesses any racist or offensive comments to report it to the nearest steward, police officer or to Kick It Out.”

Sargeant was detained by Staffordshire Police during the third-tier clash at the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday, September 15, last year.

Fleur Robinson, commercial director at Burton Albion FC, hopes the banning order sends out “a strong message” to other supporters.

She said: “We are proud that Burton Albion is seen as a family-friendly club and we do not tolerate abusive or discriminatory behaviour of any kind.

“We hope this result sends out a strong message that anyone who displays this kind of behaviour must expect consequences.

“Fortunately these incidents are rare at the Pirelli Stadium, but we will not be complacent and will take a pro-active approach in seeking out anyone who breaks ground regulations.

“We would like to thank Staffordshire Police for their support in helping bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion.”