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Man charged with three-year stadium ban for racially abusing Ivan Toney

A 24-year-old man has been handed a three-year stadium ban for racially abusing Ivan Toney online back in October.

Toney shared the screenshots of the messages he received following Brentford’s 2-0 victory over Brighton and Northumbria Police, supported by the Metropolitan Police, began a full investigation immediately.

On January 25, the man pleaded guilty in Magistrates Court and now, Antonio Neill from Blyth, has been charged for his actions and is now facing an international three-year stadium ban as well as a four-month suspended sentence for two years.

A potentially significant turning point in the battle against racism as this is the first ever sentence to be issued under the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

With the news coming just days after Southampton defender Kyle Walker-Peters was subject to online racist abuse, the importance of the sentencing cannot be understated and can hopefully act as a deterrent.

Neill will not be facing prison time, so long as the conditions of his suspended sentence are not breached within the next four months.  

Superintendent Scott Cowie, hate crime lead for Northumbria Police said: “I am therefore delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offence has been reflected with this banning order, which forbids him from attending any regulated football in the United Kingdom.

“I hope this reinforces our commitment to taking action against anybody who commits a hate crime – it will not be tolerated, and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts.

“I would like to thank everyone who played their part in this particular case, including the team of officers who worked tirelessly to secure justice as well as our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police, the UK Football Policing Unit and the Premier League.

“Discrimination has absolutely no place in any society, whether out in our communities or online. It will not be tolerated, and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts”

Hopefully this landmark sentencing can act as a watershed moment in terms of tackling all form of abuse.

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