Chelsea fan banned from matches for three years over homophobic abuse

Brighton's Amex stadium ahead of the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Chelsea FC

A Chelsea fan has been banned from attending football matches for three years after admitting shouting homophobic abuse.

George Bradley, 20, was fined £965 and handed a ban by Brighton Magistrates’ Court after admitting a charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The football fan was accused of homophobic conduct during the December 16 match between Chelsea F.C. and Brighton & Hove Albion Brighton’s Amex Stadium.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Brighton & Hove Albion said: “We would like to thank Sussex Police for their assistance in dealing with this unsavoury incident, and we are very pleased with the outcome.

“It underlines both their and our commitment to a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse from those attending matches at the Amex.

“We would remind all fans that we will not tolerate any form of abusive behaviour at the stadium and will always take the strongest possible action.”

The Chelsea badge is seen at the club's Stamford Bridge ground

The Chelsea badge is seen at the club’s Stamford Bridge ground (Clive Rose/Getty)

Sussex Police’s football policing officer Darren Balkham added: “This was a great example of the stewarding and policing operation at the stadium taking action when incidents occur.

“Mr Bradley pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and accepted his behaviour was not acceptable and this was recognised by the court.

“I would urge any supporter attending the Amex to report these incidents to either a steward or police officer to allow us to take action at the time.”

The town of Brighton is known for its high LGBT+ population, and the football team has frequently faced homophobia from fans of rival teams previously.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri previously used homophobic slurs

Chelsea football club has vowed to take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.

However, the club’s manager Maurizio Sarri was previously handed a fine for shouting the slur “faggot” during a match.

Sarri was banned for two games and fined €20,000 following the clash in 2016, when he was managing Italian club Napoli.

The 59-year-old sought to distance himself from the incident when he joined Chelsea in July 2018, saying that “people make mistakes.”

“I think those who know me very well cannot define me in this way,” added Sarri. “I am not homophobic, not sexist, certainly not.”

“I am an extremely open person, and I do not have these kind of problems.”

He continued: “I hope I can show this when I work here, and when I am living here.

“These mistakes were made, yes. But when someone makes a mistake, they must apologise, and accept that some allegations could be made by the press.

“A professional, ethical attitude is very important, more than apologies. I hope you have the chance to know me better. I hope you will forget about this very quickly.”