No ban for fan who racially abused Etuhu
City magistrates have decided not to impose a football banning order on a Norwich fan who racially abused Canaries midfielder Dickson Etuhu. But Norwich City FC said it had the right to impose its own ban and it would discuss whether or not any action would be taken.
City magistrates have decided not to impose a football banning order on a Norwich fan who racially abused Canaries midfielder Dickson Etuhu.
But Norwich City FC said last night it had the right to impose its own ban and it would discuss whether or not any action would be taken.
Daniel Rennie, who admitted racially aggravated disorderly conduct, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £60 prosecution costs.
Chairwoman Barbara Goodwin said Rennie, 47, of Jex Road, Norwich, was a man of previous good character and the incident had not been prolonged.
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"We are not satisfied that a football banning order is necessary on the basis of this offence," she said.
"We have heard many things that have suggested you would make sure you never do such a thing again."
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An NCFC spokesman said: "The club has the right to impose a club banning order and will be internally reviewing this case to see what, if any, action should be taken.
"If Mr Rennie would like to apologise to Dickson Etuhu he should make contact in writing care of the club and this will be forwarded to the player."
Prosecutor Gary Starling told the court yesterday that Rennie had gone to the Norwich City versus Luton Town match at Carrow Road on August 12. Stuart McKechnie, who had gone to the match with his father, was sitting near the defendant. After a few minutes, Norwich player Dickson Etuhu gave the ball away and Mr McKechnie heard Rennie swear at him, using a racist word to describe him. "It was clearly a racist remark in the midst of a crowd at a football match. Black people being referred to by that word is not something to be tolerated in this day and age. It is offensive to any right thinking member of society," said Mr Starling.
Mr McKechnie was concerned about what he had heard, but was unsure what to do. At first he told Rennie: 'Excuse me, if you use that language again, I'll report you to a steward'.
Later he heard Rennie saying: "If you go down to the toilets we will be there."
Mr McKechnie took that as a threat and later saw some other people apparently remonstrating with the defendant. He then spoke to a steward and asked the other people if they also wished to make a complaint and they indicated that they did. Police were called, Rennie was removed from the ground and admitted making the remark about the black midfielder.
Chris Brown, for Rennie, said the offence involved just one word and it was not the kind of language he had used in the past. "The court will know bad language is part of terrace culture at football matches."
He denied making any other alleged comments, saying they had either been misheard or misinterpreted.
Rennie wanted to apologise to anyone who heard the remark, which he knew he should not have made, and to the player concerned, although he would not have heard it.
Mr Brown said Rennie did not hold racist views or have any feelings of animosity towards people of different colour or racial groups. "He accepts what he did was wrong," added the solicitor.
Leon Mann, spokesman for Kick It Out, football's anti-racism campaign, said: "There is a clear line between getting hot under the collar and racially abusing someone. This line has clearly been overstepped.
"We would have expected the courts to have imposed some kind of banning order on him because he displayed not only racism tendencies but threatening behaviour.
"We applaud the football club on taking a stand against racism and making a complaint in the right way and for taking up this issue and making sure it's clear to all supporters they won't tolerate any sort of abuse or discrimination.
"Although the courts have not imposed a ban, the club, if they feel it is necessary, can still impose a ban on the supporter, and we feel they should do that."
A Blackburn supporter was given a football banning order by the courts after racially abusing Trinidad player Dwight Yorke when he was playing for Birmingham City at Blackburn in November 2004.