A landmark decision was made to ban a person who engaged in racial abuse towards Brentford forward Ivan Toney on social media from all stadiums in the United Kingdom
On October 14, 2022, Antonio Neil sent racially abusive posts to Brentford striker Ivan Toney on social media.
Toney then shared the images of the abuse on his Instagram account, prompting the Northumbria Police, supported by the Metropolitan Police, to launch a complete investigation.
Neil has admitted to sending an offensive message, which was treated as a hate crime by the authorities, during his hearing in front of magistrates in Newcastle.
Antonio Neil has been given a suspended four-month sentence and a three-year football banning order for sending racially abusive messages to Brentford striker Ivan Toney.
The banning order is the first of its kind since the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 was implemented. The sentence is suspended for two years
Toney’s abuser gets his sentence
Superintendent Scott Cowie, who is the hate crime lead for Northumbria Police talked about the sentence.
“Discrimination has absolutely no place in any society, whether out in our communities or online.” he said.
“I am therefore delighted that the seriousness of Neill’s offense has been reflected with this banning order. The order forbids him from attending any regulated football in the United Kingdom.
“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.”
Antonio Neil is now prohibited from attending any regulated football match held in the United Kingdom. This includes all four tiers of the English Football League, the National League and England home internationals. Additionally, he is also banned from attending international fixtures outside the UK.
Chief constable Mark Roberts, NPCC’s lead for football policing, added on the sentence handed out to Neil.
“This result makes it clear that there are real consequences for those people who think they can hide behind a keyboard to post hateful comments.” he said
“I’m pleased the new legislation has enabled a banning order to be issued in this case. This shows that the police, CPS and the courts are taking these offenses very seriously.
“Northumbria Police have been proactive in seeking this order and it shows we are taking a proactive approach.
“I would urge others who are victims of online hate to come forward. Report it to the police so it can be investigated and action can be taken.”
Brentford are pleased with the decision but have called on the authorities to do even more. But they said in a statement on the club’s official website: “Ivan Toney has been subject to sickening racist abuse on a regular basis. 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. 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. but We call upon the social media companies to make their platforms safe for all participants and to remove all hateful content.”