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Football fan given banning order after mocking Munich air disaster

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Apr 2024

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A football fan has been given a conditional discharge and a three-year banning order after tragedy chanting at a match between Manchester United and Everton.

Mark Finnigan, 24, from Liverpool, was witnessed making a hand gesture which could be interpreted as related to the Munich air disaster, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Eight Manchester United players were among the 23 people killed in the 1958 plane crash.

The spokesman said Finnigan, of Ilchester Road, pleaded guilty to the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress at the Old Trafford Premier League match on March 9.

He appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was sentenced to a conditional discharge of six months and given a three-year football banning order, police said.

Inspector Gregg Anderton, of GMP’s specialist operational planning unit, said: “Finnigan was witnessed by an officer to turn towards the home crowd and make a hand gesture which he later accepted could be interpreted as being related to the Munich air disaster.

“Finnigan was removed from the ground and arrested on suspicion of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm, or distress under the Public Order Act.

“We are reiterating the message that any kind of gesture or comments from any supporters to other clubs in relation to tragedy chanting will not be tolerated and is completely unacceptable.

“I would also like this to be a strong warning for any supporters attending future fixtures in Greater Manchester that if you engage in this behaviour, GMP officers will do everything possible to bring you in front of the courts.”

Last month, Manchester United and Liverpool joined forces to launch an initiative aimed at eradicating tragedy chanting.

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