Tottenham fan who threw banana at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fined £500 and banned

Banned

Averof Panteli admitted hurling the item onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium and Magistrates rule it had a racial element to it

The Tottenham fan who threw a banana skin at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a “targeted gesture” which had a “racial element”, has been fined and banned.

The incident happened as the Arsenal striker celebrated a goal in front of Spurs supporters during the north London derby.

Averof Panteli admitted hurling the banana onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored against Tottenham

Averof Panteli admitted hurling the banana onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored against Tottenham

Averof Panteli admitted hurling the item onto the pitch at the Emirates Stadium.

The van driver, 57, said he threw the skin in a “spur of the moment” action but strongly denied there was any racist intent, Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard on Tuesday.

But Magistrate Mervyn Mandell said: “We find it was a targeted gesture to throw a banana skin after a goal was scored by a black player.

“We have in the circumstances found the racial element was there.”

Panteli, of Borrowdale Drive, Norwich, was handed a four-year football banning order after pleading guilty to throwing a missile.

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He was also fined £500, which includes a £100 uplift for the racial element, and told to pay £135 in costs.

After being identified on CCTV and detained by a steward Mr Panteli said: “It wasn’t a racial thing it just happened”, the court heard.

Leila Rasool, mitigating, said Panteli had been going to Tottenham games for 50 years without incident and he was of “exemplary character”.

Panteli was handed a four-year football banning order after he plead guilty to throwing a missile onto the pitch and was also fined £500

Panteli was handed a four-year football banning order after he plead guilty to throwing a missile onto the pitch and was also fined £500

She told the court: “It was a spur of the moment thing. He picked up the closest article to him and that happened to be a banana skin.

“He realised the grave error he had made. He has not been charged for any racially aggravated public order offence.

“Police directly told Mr Panteli they accepted his account and didn’t think there was a racial element.”

Panteli, who wore a black tie and jacket with a white shirt, was accompanied in court by family members, including a son-in-law who is mixed race, Ms Rasool said.

Speaking outside court she told reporters: “He’s deeply distressed about the past weeks’ backlash he’s faced, the vilification of him for what was a spur of the moment action made by a passionate Tottenham fan.”

After the pulsating 4-2 derby win, Premier League joint-top scorer Aubameyang posted a picture of himself on social media with the caption #whysmandoingthis? accompanied by a banana emoji.

The incident triggered a fresh debate about racism in football, with former Arsenal striker turned pundit Ian Wright saying it had “embarrassed” the Premier League.

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The offence of throwing a missile on to a football playing area is contrary to the Football (Offences) Act 1991.

At an earlier hearing, Arsenal fan Charlie Watts admitted throwing an empty plastic bottle towards Spurs players who had gestured at home supporters after Tottenham scored a penalty in the same game.

The 27-year-old, from St Albans, was handed a three-year football banning order prohibiting him attending any regulated matches in the UK and ordered to pay a fine of £650 plus costs of £150.

The two north London sides meet again on Wednesday night in the League Cup.

This story was originally published by talkSPORT

via: USAHint Sports

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