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Fan banned from football matches for racist abuse

|News, Hate crime

A Nottingham Forest fan has been fined banned from attending football matches for racially abusing opposition fans and a player at a game at the City Ground in December 2023.

Darren Green, 50, from Bestwood, persistently shouted racist abuse at opposition supporters at a game against Tottenham Hotspur before directing further racist abuse at Spurs player Son Heung-Min. Green continued his barrage of foul language and abuse throughout the game, becoming aggressive and abusive when other fans asked him to stop.

Green’s behaviour was reported to match stewards and after the game to the club by supporters sitting near him. He was identified from his seat number as a season ticket holder, and subsequently charged with two charges of racially aggravated disorderly conduct. In the face of overwhelming evidence from eye-witnesses, he pleaded guilty to both charges and was today fined a total of £1654 and handed a 3-year football banning order. The fines were increased from £1005 because of the racially aggravated nature of the offences.

Marianne Connally from the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Darren Green’s abhorrent behaviour has no place in football. He turned up to the game drunk and for reasons best known to him decided to shout racist abuse at opposition fans and a player for a sustained period. He will now be banned from every football ground in the country and unable to travel abroad when international games are happening.

“It is very sad to hear witnesses tell that they felt forced to leave the ground because of Green’s behaviour. I am grateful to those supporters who came forward to report this incident. I hope that the knowledge that we have been able to identify Green and ensure he will not be back to repeat this disgusting behaviour will encourage them to continue to watch the game and the club they love.”

Green was fined £788 for the abuse aimed at the Tottenham Hotspur fans, increased from £473 due to the racial element. He had pleaded guilty to this offence at an earlier hearing. He pleaded guilty to the charge relating to the player today and was fined £886, increased from £532. He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £669.

Building the case

Darren Green pleaded guilty to two separate offences or racially or religiously aggravated disorderly conduct. One covered the anti-Semitic verbal abuse of the opposing fans and the other was to cover the racist abuse of the opposition player.

Green was identified as the person responsible for the behaviour from the seat he was occupying. As a season ticket holder, he was recognised by supporters as a regular attendee and he club was able to identify him.

To authorise a charge of racially aggravated disorderly conduct, the CPS must be satisfied the defendant used threatening or abusive words or behaviour, or demonstrated disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress. Evidence must also be provided separately of the racist elements.

In this case, while there was no evidence that Green’s words were heard by either the opposition player or the fans, Nottingham Forest supporters did report that they experienced distress as a result of his behaviour, including one young spectator who felt unable to stay until the end of the match and reported after the incident that he did not want to go and watch football with his father any more as a result.

CPS prosecutors made the distress caused to other supporters clear to the court to emphasis the seriousness of Green’s offending.

Notes to editors

  • Marianne Connally is a district crown prosecutor at CPS East Midlands and a strategic lead for football-related offences

Further reading

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