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Supporter hit with three-year football banning order

A man from Newcastle-under-Lyme has been fined £600 and banned from attending any regulated football match, including internationals, due to his behaviour at a Port Vale fixture. Philip O’Brian, 50, is banned from attending football matches for the next three years following remarks he made during the team’s League One clash with Sheffield Wednesday on 1 October 2022. A member of the public contacted the Port Vale discrimination report line to say that a man sat in a season ticket holder’s seat had racially abused a player. At the North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Tuesday 24 October, evidence found by our football policing unit of O’Brian’s unacceptable behaviour was presented to the court. O’Brian was found guilty of racially aggravated harassment/alarm/distress by words, which he had previously denied. He was also ordered to pay £750 court costs and a £240 victim surcharge. The order prevents O’Brian from attending all football fixtures with a geographical exclusion zone also in place. This stops him from associating with other Port Vale supporters on match days. He will also have to surrender his passport when England play away fixtures and is banned from attending any of the national team’s home fixtures. PC Tim Moss, our dedicated football officer for Port Vale, said: "We welcome this result and believe it sends out a strong message that incidents of hate at football matches will not be tolerated. “This outcome is the result of positive work being done by Port Vale Football Club, Staffordshire Police and the courts to combat unacceptable behaviour. “Ringing the Discrimination Reporting Helpline at Port Vale Football Club is a tried-and-trusted process that does yield results and we urge supporters to use it. “We will continue to take action against those who use football stadiums as a venue to commit crimes of hate speech through effective cohesion between our clubs, police and the courts."

Port Vale’s safety officer, Wayne Jones, said: “We welcome the decision that has been made and would like to reiterate our message that football is for everyone and abuse of any kind is not accepted at Vale Park.

“If any supporter experiences or hears any abuse in the stands we would request they send as much information as possible to our information line. The number can be found around the stadium, on our scoreboard and in the matchday programme.

“Alternatively, supporters can speak to any matchday steward who will report the abuse on their behalf.”

PC Moss and other officers monitor crimes at games around the county and online, working with clubs including Stoke City, Port Vale, Burton Albion, Hednesford Town, Stafford Rangers, Tamworth FC and 23 other smaller non-league clubs.

The public can report incidents by ringing the Port Vale Discrimination Reporting Helpline on: 07801216675.

For more information on hate crime and how to report it, visit: Hate crime | Staffordshire Police


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