A man who racially abused Brentford striker Ivan Toney on social media has been banned from every soccer stadium in Britain for three years in what police described on Tuesday as a «historic ruling».
Antonio Neill sent a racist message to Toney on his Instagram account after the striker scored twice against Brighton in a Premier League match on October 14.
Police launched an investigation after Toney shared a photo of the abuse and the message was traced to Neill, 24, who lives in Blyth, a town in northern England.
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Neill appeared before Newcastle magistrates court on January 25 and pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message.
On Monday, he was given a four-month sentence suspended for two years, as well as a three-year soccer banning order, the first issued under a government law that became law in 2022. That expanded the scope of prohibition orders. Issued for online hate crimes involving a person with a connection to a soccer organization.
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«If you’re going to choose to be vile and abusive to others, doing it behind a computer screen or on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it. Far from it,» Northumbria police and crime commissioner said, Kim McGuinness. she said in a statement released Tuesday.
The order prohibits Neill from attending any regulated football matches in Britain and also prevents him from traveling abroad for international friendlies, qualifying matches and tournaments.
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Brentford said the club expected sentences for online abuse to increase and called for social media companies to remove all hateful content to make their platforms safe for everyone.