On Monday, a Manchester United fan was fined and barred from playing football in the United Kingdom for four years for wearing a replica shirt mocking the Hillsborough disaster.
Police received a lot of complaints about James White’s shirt with the number “97” and the phrase “Not Enough” on the back during the FA Cup final earlier this month at Wembley Stadium.
It was a reference to the 97 Liverpool fans who were crushed during an FA Cup semi-final match at the stadium in Sheffield in April 1989.
White, 33, pleaded guilty to a single count of exhibiting threatening or abusive writing with the intent to cause annoyance, alarm, or distress.
“It is hard to imagine a more… offensive reference to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster,” judge Mark Jabbitt told him when he appeared in court in northwest London for sentencing.
Jabbitt fined White £1,000 ($1,280) with a £400 victim surcharge and ordered him to pay £85 in court costs.
He also banned him from attending football for four years.
White was arrested after photographs of him wearing the shirt were posted and shared online, prompting his arrest by police.
When questioned, he initially claimed the shirt was a reference to his grandfather, who died aged 97 and “didn’t have enough kids”, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Douglas Mackay, CPS national lead prosecutor for sport, said it was working closely with football authorities, police and clubs to stamp out the “appalling and horrendous incidents of tragedy chanting and gesturing”.
“We are sending a clear message that we call on so-called fans to stop this vile behaviour of a minority which has a terrible impact on the bereaved and communities,” he added.
“If they do not then they face the risk of being excluded from the game they claim to love.”
A Spurs supporter was banned from sport for three years last week after making gestures mocking the Hillsborough disaster during an April match at Liverpool’s ground.
The Premier League committed to take action after United and Leeds fans exchanged horrific songs about the 1958 Munich air disaster, which killed eight Old Trafford players, and the death of two Leeds fans in Istanbul in 2000.