Supporter handed three-year football ban for racist gesture towards Son Heung-min

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A supporter who made a racist gesture towards Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min during May’s Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace has been banned from attending football matches for three years.

Robert Garland, 44, made the gesture from the away end at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when Son was substituted in the 89th minute.

Following a Metropolitan Police investigation, Garland pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment at Highbury Magistrates’ Court in August. He received a £1,384 fine and was ordered to carry out 60 hours of unpaid work.

On November 6, prosecutors successfully appealed to add a football banning order to the sentence.

A Tottenham statement read: “We thank the police for their cooperation on the matter. We should like to reiterate that the club does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and will always seek for the strongest possible action to be taken against those found responsible.”

A Premier League statement read: “The Premier League welcomes the three-year football banning order issued today to an individual who racially abused Son Heung-min.

“It is vital that those found guilty of discriminatory behaviour are held to account, and this punishment sends a clear message that action will be taken and there are consequences.”

Kevin Christie, the Crown Prosecution Service’s lead sports prosecutor for London North, said: “This case shows that hate crime at football will not be tolerated. Garland’s actions were rightly condemned on social media and we call on all fans to carry on calling out any form of discriminatory behaviour against players or fans to the police or stewards so we can take cases like this to court.”

The ban length mirrors one received by a Chelsea supporter in May for making a racist gesture towards Son during a Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge in August 2022.

Chelsea identified Thomas Burchell after images of the incident were shared on social media and reported to Kick it Out, before he later admitted to police that he had made the gesture.

(Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

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