Fan banned after ‘profound and distressing’ actions during FA Cup final

A fan who wore an offensive football shirt referencing the Hillsborough disaster to the FA Cup final has been banned from attending football games for four years on Monday, Willesden Magistrates’ Court in London said.

James White, 33, admitted wearing the shirt with the number 97 and “not enough” at Wembley Stadium on June 3, referring to the 97 fans who died during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in a crush at the over-crowded Hillsborough Stadium.

“It is hard to imagine a more … offensive reference to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster,” District judge Mark Jabbitt said as quoted by the British media.

The judge added that the shirt White wore bore an “abhorrent message” and that the impact of his actions were “profound and distressing”.

The image was widely shared on social media and police received a series of emails from people who saw it online, British media reported.

The English Football Association welcomed the court’s decision.

“(White’s) actions at the FA Cup Final were reprehensible, and abuse that references Hillsborough or any football tragedy will not be tolerated at Wembley Stadium,” the FA said.

“We hope that today’s ruling sends a strong message that action will be taken against any perpetrators who behave in this way.”

A Tottenham Hotspur fan was banned from games for three years last week after making gestures mocking the Hillsborough tragedy at the Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham in April.

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