Hate in soccer is not uncommon. But sometimes it crosses all boundaries – and even brings the law into play, as one fan in England has now found out
A few weeks ago, a soccer fan was arrested during the second division match between Sheffield Wednesday and AFC Sunderland (0:3) for making fun of a dead boy in order to provoke Sunderland fans.
The boy who was vilified was Bradley Lowery, who was once an ardent Sunderland fan and had suffered from a rare cancer – and who died in 2017 at the age of just six. During his time of suffering, the youngster had risen to become an important figure at AFC and is still held in high regard by the fans today.
Because the man had now made fun of the dead boy, the security forces intervened, also to suppress any negative consequences of such provocation at an early stage. South Yorkshire Police accused the arrested stadium guest of offending public decency. Footage of the action circulated on the internet and Sheffield Wednesday strongly condemned the act
The case subsequently called the judiciary into action – and brought consequences for the perpetrator. As the British news agency PA reported on Friday, the perpetrator was sentenced to twelve weeks in prison, which was commuted to a suspended sentence of 18 months. In addition, the 32-year-old, who admitted to “disturbing public order”, must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
“Didn’t you think to yourself: what the hell am I doing?” the judge in charge, Marcus Waite, is reported to have said according to PA. The jurist also emphasized that although the defendant’s behaviour had been shameful, he had also shown remorse and even lost his job after the incident.