English fan banned for racist gesture
SUNDERLAND, England (AP)
A soccer fan in England has been banned from attending games for three years because he made a racist gesture toward a black player during a game last season.
Liam Jones, 22, was given an 18-month conditional discharge after he admitted causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress while watching his team Sunderland lose to West Brom at the Stadium of Light in November.
Sunderland lost 4-2 and Jones, from East Vines, Hendon, was photographed in the stands making a monkey gesture towards Lukaku after he scored a goal.
As the player was snapped leaping in celebration, Jones could be seen out of his seat, in a grey flat cap, shouting at the striker with his hands cupped towards his armpits. He later told reporters he was doing a "chicken dance" and pleaded not guilty to the charge when it came before Sunderland magistrates.
A trial had been due to take place next month but at a hearing last week Jones entered a guilty plea. Court officials have confirmed he was handed a three year football banning order and an 18-month conditional discharge. Following a previous court hearing, Jones made as if he was going to spit at photographers waiting outside.
After the case, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill of Northumbria Police, said: "Racist behavior of any kind will not be tolerated and Northumbria Police will fully investigate any reports made to us. We know people who are responsible for these actions are part of a small minority and would continue to encourage anyone who sees this kind of behavior to report it to us and help us rid football of any racism."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.