A West Ham United fan has been fined after pleading guilty to a racially aggravated offence at a Carabao Cup game against Tottenham Hotspur at the London Stadium in October.
The CPS brought the charge after the Metropolitan police received a complaint from another West Ham fan about the supporter aiming racial abuse at Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, a South Korea forward. The supporter was fined £184 and ordered to pay £110 in costs by Thames magistrates court after admitting to referring to Son, who scored twice in a 3-1 win for Tottenham, as “DVD”.
The supporter was not given a football banning order after the court accepted that the abuse was out of character. It concluded such action would not “help to prevent violence or disorder” and would be “disproportionate and excessive”.
West Ham have banned the fan indefinitely from the London Stadium but have also offered him the chance to attend an education course. If he completes this and signs an acceptable-behaviour agreement the ban will be reviewed.
The reference to selling DVDs is known to be a racist term when aimed at Asian footballers and is not the first time the slur has been aimed at Son by someone claiming to be a West Ham supporter.
Son was racially abused in November 2017, after he wound down his car window to pose for a picture with another fan. In a video uploaded to social media, the man – who is off camera – asks Son if he can get him a copy of the new Planet of the Apes film. “DVDs. You do DVDs. Good copies,” the man adds, before identifying himself as a West Ham supporter.
Two months later Son made a shushing gesture after scoring against West Ham in a 1-1 draw at Wembley. The Tottenham forward, whose goal went in at the end where the West Ham fans were seated, put a finger to his lips as he celebrated. “It was nothing special, I don’t want to talk about it,” Son said after the game. “I think they knew why I did it and that’s it.”
Racism has blighted English football this season. In December a Chelsea fan was accused of aiming racial abuse at Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling at Stamford Bridge, which he denied, and a Tottenham fan was banned after throwing a banana skin at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
West Ham also vowed to ban a group of supporters filmed engaging in antisemitic chants on their way to the club’s Premier League match at Manchester United last month. The group were filmed singing an abusive song about Tottenham on a tram before the game at Old Trafford.
Reports of discriminatory abuse increased by 11% in the 2017-18 season, according to figures released by Kick It Out in November, and are expected to rise again this year.