Fabian Richardson, a fan of Chelsea Football Club, has reportedly been banned from football matches for three years after making a series of Nazi salutes during a game against Tottenham Hotspur Football Club at Chelsea’s home ground in May.
Richardson admitted religiously aggravated harassment after being caught making 13 Nazi salutes in 15 minutes, however at first he claimed that he was waving at friends, saying: “I’m not a racist, I was just an idiot.”
Robert Simpson, prosecuting, said: “It was the Chelsea-Tottenham game, and the defendant was seen by members of the public doing a Nazi salute towards the Tottenham fans. A photograph was placed on a forum of Kick It Out, and he was identified by Chelsea Football Club. He had his arm out at a 90 degree angle in a Nazi salute. He did this 13 times in 15 minutes. Asked in interview by police he said he didn’t know what it was, and asked if he had seen it in war films he said he didn’t think so. He told them he was waving to friends but couldn’t name any.”
Richardson has been handed a three-year football banning order, meaning he cannot attend any football matches in the UK, and must surrender his passport when the England’s national team play abroad. Additionally he was handed a £250 fine, ordered to pay £85 costs, and a witness tax of £30. His season ticket was also suspended.
District Judge Mike Snow addressed comments to 21-year-old Richardson directly, saying: “You didn’t grow up during the dark period of football in the 70s and 80s. During that time football matches were marred by abusive violence and language. We can’t slip back into that period. You and I both know that Tottenham and Chelsea is one of the feistiest matches of the season. We both know, in reality, that Tottenham is a club associated with the Jewish faith. You and I both know those fans are regularly the subject of abuse based on that presumption.”
Sadly antisemitic gestures and chants are still far too common at many football matches, so we commend Chelsea Football Club for identifying this criminal and taking action. Fabian Richardson has now been deprived of his passion for football, any employer will see his criminal record, and anybody searching his name on the internet will see that he engaged in such revolting antisemitic conduct. We applaud the police, Prosecutor Robert Simpson and District Judge Mike Snow for taking firm action in this case.
Regrettably such convictions are rare due to reluctance on the part of the Crown Prosecution Service to take action against antisemites. While 2015 saw the worst level of antisemitic hate crime on record, we only know of 12 cases of antisemitic hate crime that the Crown Prosecution Service prosecuted, out of a total of 15,442 hate crimes prosecuted that year.