Huddersfield Town statement
A Dalton man has been banned from all football grounds in England and Wales after making a racist gesture at a Huddersfield Town match.
Gareth Smith (28) of Dalton, Huddersfield was banned three years from all England games by Huddersfield Magistrates today after being found guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence in a game last December.
The conviction has been welcomed by Huddersfield Town and West Yorkshire Police who have described his behaviour as provocative and distressing.
Smith was convicted for his actions in the Huddersfield Town vs. Leeds United match on December 1, 2012 in which he was spotted making the gesture towards Leeds fans.
He was spotted and ejected from the ground by Huddersfield stewards who reported the matter to Police afterwards.
As a result of his actions he has now received a three year football banning order preventing him from going within a mile of Huddersfield's Stadium up to three hours before kick-off on match days.
The 28-year-old has also been banned from going within five miles of a stadium where Huddersfield are playing on match days and must surrender his passport before England games.
Huddersfield Town Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens commented:
“Huddersfield Town very strongly condemns any racist behaviour
“This incident was totally unacceptable. Even though it was thankfully isolated, it still damages our Club and our fans’ reputation and undermines the good work we do across the community.
“We offered our full cooperation to West Yorkshire Police throughout and we are delighted that a conclusion has been reached. We welcome the fact that this individual has been prosecuted and punished for his actions.
“The Club is a staunch supporter of the ‘One Game, One Community’ campaign and ‘Kick It Out’ and there is absolutely no place at Huddersfield Town – or anywhere else in society – for racist behaviour of any kind.”
Superintendent David Lunn from the Police in Kirklees said:
“We welcome the conviction of Gareth Smith in court today for his provocative and distressing behaviour during the game which clearly caused great offence. The conviction sends a strong message that such behaviour will not be tolerated by either Huddersfield Town or West Yorkshire Police. We work closely with the football club to tackle abusive behaviour and the consequences for those caught can be severe and long term.”