Man who racially abused Premier League player Ivan Toney banned from every single football stadium in the country

14 March 2023, 09:40

Antonio Neill, 24, sent a racist message to Brentford striker Ivan Toney
Antonio Neill, 24, sent a racist message to Brentford striker Ivan Toney. Picture: Northumbria Police/Alamy

By Daniel Allon

A man who abused a Premier League footballer on social media has been banned from every stadium in the country in a landmark ruling.

Antonio Neill, 24, sent a racist message to Brentford striker Ivan Toney on October 14 last year - labelling him a a 'black c***' in a vile racist message.

After Toney shared a picture of the abuse received via his own social media account, Northumbria Police supported by the Metropolitan Police launched a full investigation.

The message, which officers treated as a hate crime, was traced to a suspect who was then living in the North Shields area.

On January 25, Neill, of Robert Street, Blyth, pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message when he appeared before magistrates in Newcastle.

Ivan Toney shared a picture of the abuse he received on social media
Ivan Toney shared a picture of the abuse he received on social media. Picture: Alamy

Yesterday (Monday) at the same court, Neill was handed a four-month sentence suspended for two years for the online offence as well as a three-year football banning order – the first of its kind to be issued under the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

Read more: Gary Glitter recalled to prison after being caught discussing how to access the Dark Web in bail hostel

Read more: Government wins crunch vote on controversial small boats bill despite backbench backlash

Superintendent Scott Cowie, hate crime lead for Northumbria Police, said: “Discrimination has absolutely no place in any society, whether out in our communities or online.

“I am therefore delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offence has been reflected with this banning order, the first of its kind to be issued in the UK.

“I hope this reinforces our commitment to taking action against anybody who commits a hate crime – it will not be tolerated and we will do all we can to put perpetrators before the courts.

“I would like to thank everyone who played their part in this particular case, including the team of officers who worked tirelessly to secure justice as well as our colleagues at the Metropolitan Police, the UK Football Policing Unit and the Premier League.”

The order forbids Neill from attending any regulated football match in the UK, which includes Premier League, Championship, League One, League Two and National League fixtures, as well as England home internationals.

The banning order also prevents him from travelling abroad to watch international friendlies, qualification matches and tournaments.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Online racism has been traced back to our region and officers have made it more than clear our region won’t tolerate it.

"If you are going to choose to be vile and abusive to others, doing it from behind a computer screen or on your phone doesn’t mean you’ll get away with it, far from it.

"As this case shows, Northumbria Police can track you down and I hope this banning order demonstrates how seriously officers take hate matters and that it paves the way for other offenders to face similar punishment in future.

"This is a first and I am proud of Northumbria’s involvement in making it happen.”

Following the hearing, a Brentford Football Club statement said: "Brentford FC is pleased to see the Antonio Neill case resolved and that Northumbria Police pursued this to a conclusion.

"Court appearances set a strong precedent for anyone else who commits hate crimes and it is our hope that sentences increase in severity until this sort of crime is eradicated.

"Ivan Toney has been subject to sickening racist abuse on a regular basis, and we want to see tough action taken against anyone found guilty of such abuse.

"The club firmly believes there is no place for racial abuse in football and we continue to support and implement a zero-tolerance policy towards discriminatory behaviour of any kind.

"All authorities have their role to play in this and we, again, call upon the social media companies to make their platforms safe for all participants and to remove all hateful content."

If any member of the public sees, reads or hears offensive, racist or homophobic language at fixtures or online, please report it to police online or by calling 101.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Security guard Gavin Plumb has been found guilty of plotting to kidnap, rape and murder television presenter Holly Willoughby.

'Depraved and vile' plot to kidnap, rape and murder Holly Willoughby has had 'life-changing' impact on star

The former president has expressed his concern over Biden's ability to beat Donald Trump.

Obama 'concerned' as pressure mounts on Joe Biden to pull out of presidential race in wake of Putin gaffe

Jay Slater vanished in Tenerife on June 17

'Significant' new clue in Jay Slater mystery as investigator shares update with police

Izzet Eren was shot dead

Masked gunman kills Turkish gang boss in 'revenge hit' after girl, 9, shot in botched drive-by at London restaurant

LBC met with two budding England stars at Harry Kane's former school.

Moment LBC met future England stars who attend the same school as Harry Kane

A section of the M25 is set to close this weekend

M25 stretch to close entirely this weekend, amid fears of Heathrow chaos, with other roads set to be 'incredibly busy'

A vigil was held for the three victims on Wednesday's suspected crossbow attack.

Police fear crossbow 'killer' Kyle Clifford held John Hunt's family 'for hours' before their deaths

Exclusive
A life-saving drug used by tens of thousands of people with cancer and Cystic Fibrosis is facing severe supply issues

UK 'pretty much out' of life-saving drug Creon - as 3 in 10 unable to pick up prescription due to medicine shortages

Joe Biden referred to Ukraine's president - as President Putin - before correcting himself while on stage

Joe Biden defiant despite calling Ukrainian leader Zelenskyy 'President Putin', as calls grow for him to stand down

Izzet Erin, the boss of the Tottenham Turks, was shot several times in the head outside a cafe in Moldova

Boss of Tottenham Turks gang behind drive-by shooting of girl, nine, at London restaurant assassinated in Moldova

A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat traveling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover, Kent. Picture date: Tuesday August 29, 2023.

Four migrants die attempting to cross English Channel

Two worshippers have been attacked at a gurdwara in Kent

Horror as two Sikh worshippers 'stabbed with large knife' at Kent gurdwara, with teen boy arrested for attempted murder

A top candidate has turned down the job of leading the Border Security Command

Blow to Starmer as former top police office turns down job smashing gangs that run Channel migrant boat crossings

Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer ‘doubles down’ on free vote on assisted dying but hints it won't be in first year of Labour government

Dr Michael Mosley and his wife Clare

Michael Mosley's wife Clare says family are 'trying to put their lives back together' a month after husband's death

Prince Harry praised the 'eternal' bond between mother and son

Prince Harry praises 'eternal bond between mother and son' as he controversially picks up award