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Football supporter found guilty of sending racist and offensive email to Gareth Southgate

|News, Hate crime

A man has been found guilty of sending an offensive message to England football manager Gareth Southgate, which included racist messages.

Brian Martin, 36, sent an expletive laden email to Mr Southgate in on 4 June 2022, immediately after the England team had lost 1-0 to the Hungarian national team in Budapest. Using messages of a racist nature to refer to players of colour in the team, he criticised the England manager for decisions he had taken and for defeats the team had suffered. He objected to the team’s decision to “take the knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He was found guilty of one count of sending by public communication network an offensive or indecent message, today at York Magistrates’ Court.

Martin accepted ahead of trial that he sent the email, but denied its contents were offensive or indecent.

Adam Featherstone, Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “The content of this message was not only grossly offensive, but racist. Martin now has a criminal record to show for it, which is likely to impact his life and future prospects.

“This result sends a clear message, that racist language in any form will not be tolerated and the CPS will not hesitate to prosecute these offences whenever our legal test is met.”

Douglas Mackay, CPS national sports lead, said: “Hate crime has no place within society let alone sport.

“At the World Cup, we hope the England and Wales teams do their countries proud. However, fans must not let their passion overspill into racial abuse of players for what they do on the pitch, like we saw overshadow Euro 2020.

“If you see, read or hear of any offensive racist and homophobic language, during the World Cup or after, please report it to the police who will investigate. The law has been extended so those who abuse players online face being banned from watching football, and we will use these powers to those who we prosecute.”

Notes to editors

  • Adam Featherstone is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside.
  • Douglas Mackay is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands and the CPS national sports lead prosecutor.
  • Brian Martin, DOB: 16/1/86, is from Selby in North Yorkshire.
  • He will be sentenced on 13 December 2022.

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