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Three-year football ban for Chelsea fan who made a racist gesture at Tottenham’s Son Heung-min

|News, Hate crime

A Chelsea supporter has been banned from football for three years for a racially aggravated public order offence at Stamford Bridge.

Thomas Burchell, 30 from Croydon made a racist gesture when Tottenham’s Son, who is South Korean, went to take a corner on the 14th August 2022.

Chelsea identified him after images of the incident were shared on social media and reported to Kick it Out, the group which works to tackle racism in football.

When confronted with the evidence, Burchell admitted to police that he made the gesture.

Burchell was fined £726 at the City of London Magistrates' Court, which was increased to reflect the racially aggravated element of the offence.

He was also issued with a football banning order which prevents him from attending a live football match for three years.

Kalsoom Shah, Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “Football is a passionate sport but racist abuse will never be allowed to mar the game.

"We know people who are responsible for these actions are part of a small minority and we will continue to encourage anyone who sees or experiences this kind of behaviour to report it to the police and help us rid football of racism.”

“Burchell’s offensive gesture means that he can longer see his team play live.”

Lionel Idan, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South and national hate crime lead said: “the CPS has made it clear that all forms of hate crime will not be tolerated whether within or outside a football ground. Where our legal test is met, we will not hesitate to take people to court and seek harsher sentences so that justice is served.

"Racist gestures and abuse are not just hurtful, they prevent other fans and players from enjoying the sport and cause real damage to the heart of the game. The CPS continues to play a crucial role in tackling such crimes and making our national game inclusive and safe for all to watch and play.”

Notes to editors

  • Thomas Burchell (DOB: 03/02/1993) is from Croydon
  • Khalsoom Shah is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the Magistrates’ Unit in CPS London South
  • Lionel Idan is the CPS National Hate Crime Lead Prosecutor and the Chief Crown Prosecutor for London South
  • Crimes that are motivated wholly or partly by hostility or demonstrate hostility towards the victim of the offence based on that person's presumed race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability are eligible for an increased sentence. 

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