Banning order for man who racially abused players at Manchester derby

A man from Wythenshawe has been found guilty of shouting racial abuse and making a racially aggravated gesture at the Manchester derby in December 2019.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 2:10 pm
Burke was seen on TV making a monkey-gesture and noises towards three black players at the Etihad Stadium

Anthony Burke (13/11/1978), of Panfield Road, was convicted yesterday (Tuesday 2 June) of a section 5 racially aggravated public order offence and handed a three-year football banning order.

Officers from GMP's City of Manchester Central Park CID began investigating reports of racist behaviour at the Manchester City versus Manchester United game at the Etihad Stadium on the evening of Saturday 7 December 2019.

Burke was seen on TV making a monkey-gesture and noises towards three black players who were stood close to the area of the pitch where he was standing.

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Police subsequently arrested him the next day and took him to custody where he denied the offence when being questioned by detectives.

CCTV enquiries, as well as accounts from witnesses in the ground close to where Burke was stood, established that Burke was making monkey sounds while making the gesture and that this was of a racially-aggravated nature.

Due to the evidence against him, a charge was later authorised against Burke under section 5 of the Public Order Act - which means using threatening, abusive words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress in a racially-aggravated way.

Following delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a hearing at Tameside Magistrates' Court yesterday saw Burke finally found guilty before being issued with a ban from all football grounds in the UK and a £500 fine.

Detective Constable Susan Muldowney, of GMP's Central Park CID, said: "The Manchester derby is a fixture that usually shows the best of Manchester but that night Anthony Burke appalled the city and the wider football community.

"His frankly unacceptable actions live on TV were witnessed by viewers around the world and it is right that he has finally been brought to accountability for what he did.

"No member of society should face such abuse wherever they are, especially when at their place of work - and this applies for anyone, whether they are a professional sports player or otherwise.

"With fans hopefully continuing to return to stadiums in the coming weeks and months, this conviction is a reminder to anyone who thinks of engaging in such intolerable abuse that we will work robustly to prosecute perpetrators of hate crime and bring them to some justice."

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