Man found guilty of sending racist email to England manager Gareth Southgate after players take the knee

The messages were sent to the England manager earlier this year

A football fan has been found guilty of sending racial and other offensive messages to England manager Gareth Southgate. Brian Martin from Selby, North Yorkshire, sent a series of messages to the England manager following the match against Hungary on June 4.

Martin made racist remarks to refer to players of colour in the team following the 1-0 defeat. He criticised the England manager for decisions he had taken and for defeats the team had suffered. Martin also objected to the team’s decision to “take the knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

He was found guilty of one count of sending by public communication network an offensive or indecent message at York Magistrates’ Court on November 21. Ahead of the hearing, Martin accepted that he sent the email, but denied its contents were offensive or indecent. He will be sentenced on December 23, 2022.

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    Adam Featherstone, Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “The content of this message was not only grossly offensive, but racist. Martin now has a criminal record to show for it, which is likely to impact his life and future prospects.

    “This result sends a clear message, that racist language in any form will not be tolerated and the CPS will not hesitate to prosecute these offences whenever our legal test is met.”

    Douglas Mackay, CPS national sports lead, said: “Hate crime has no place within society let alone sport.

    “At the World Cup, we hope the England and Wales teams do their countries proud. However, fans must not let their passion overspill into racial abuse of players for what they do on the pitch, like we saw overshadow Euro 2020.

    “If you see, read or hear of any offensive racist and homophobic language, during the World Cup or after, please report it to the police who will investigate. The law has been extended so those who abuse players online face being banned from watching football, and we will use these powers to those who we prosecute.”