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So-called football fan jailed after shouting racist abuse at footballer

|News, Hate crime

A so-called football fan who committed a hate crime after directing racist abuse at a football player has been jailed for nine months.

Ryan Ferguson, 24, of Barrberry Crescent, Liverpool, had pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment, failing to comply with a football banning order and resisting a police constable and was sentenced to nine months' imprisonment at Gloucester Crown Court today (Thursday 8 February, 2024).

Ferguson, who had attended a League One match between Forest Green Rovers and Fleetwood Town in breach of an existing football banning order, was stood by himself just yards away from the pitch when he started hurling racist abuse at a Forest Green Rovers player.

Multiple Forest Green Rovers players reacted to this and informed the referee of Ferguson’s comments. One of the ground’s safety inspectors also provided a statement to police confirming Ferguson had been the one shouting racist abuse at a player.

After being escorted out the New Lawn Stadium by security, Ferguson was arrested by officers. He initially provided them with false details, but later confirmed his identity. He had previously been subject to a five-year Football Banning Order in 2019 and was arrested again after it emerged this was his eighth breach of a banning order in less than five years.

Ferguson was jailed for a total of nine months after the evidence presented by the prosecution clearly proved this was a hate crime. He was also made subject of a six-year football banning order.

Douglas Mackay, CPS Sports National Lead Prosecutor, said: “Ferguson’s actions were vile and something that none of us should ever experience at a football match – whether that be fans, staff, police or indeed the players themselves.

“The fact Ferguson had breached his banning order multiple times in such a short period of time further proves how he felt he was above the law. The sentence that has been passed today should serve as a wake-up call to any fans who think it might be acceptable to break the law during matches.

“A day out at the football should be a fun, safe and inclusive environment for all, but hateful and offensive chanting remains an ugly stain on the beautiful game. We will continue to work closely with partners and stand ready to prosecute whenever so-called fans use racist, hateful or otherwise offensive comments, both in person and online.”

Notes to editors

  • Ryan Ferguson (05/11/1999) was charged with; racially aggravated harassment, failing to comply with a football banning order and obstructing/resisting a constable in execution of their duty.
  • Douglas Mackay is the Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the West Midlands and CPS Sports National Lead Prosecutor.

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