English player gets five-match ban for lashing out at fan

Crawley's Paul Connolly has an altercation with Brentford fans.

Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

LONDON (AP) — A footballer in England’s third tier has been handed a five-match ban for lashing out at a spectator during a match.

Paul Connolly, who plays for Crawley, was charged by the English Football Association last week with violent conduct following his confrontation with the fan during a League One game against Brentford on April 8.

Connolly appeared to slap the supporter, who had thrown the ball forcefully at the player as he went to take a throw-in. The incident was missed by the match official but caught on video.

The FA says Wednesday that an independent commission backed the FA’s contention that a standard three-match suspension was insufficient. Connolly can appeal.