Racist football fan jailed after abusing England players

Jail for racist football fan after Facebook rant reported

A racist football fan who live-streamed themselves ranting about black players from the England squad has found himself facing jail. Jonathan Best, 52, filmed the tirade after the penalty shoot-out in which Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka all missed their shots against Italy which resulted in England losing Euro 2020. 

On Tuesday 2 November at Willesden magistrates court, Best was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the charge of sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter. 

Best, a forklift driver from Feltham, west London, was bought to the attention of the police when a colleague and Facebook friend reported the 18-second clip to Facebook and the police after Best refused to take it down. Facebook then took the clip down three days later. 

Elaine Cousins, from the CPS, said: “Jonathon Best took to Facebook to livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game. He used social media to publicly vilify these three young men who tried to score for England. When approached by a Facebook friend asking him to remove the grossly offensive content, Best replied: ‘It’s my profile, I can do what I want.’

“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism. The CPS is committed to bringing perpetrators of hate crime to justice where there is the evidence to do so.” She added: “I would like to thank the individual who reported this appalling hate crime and I hope this prosecution goes some way in educating and deterring people from posting hate on social media.”

The CPS  has announced that it is working with the police, player bodies and organisations to explain what evidence is needed to pass its legal tests to authorise charges in hate crime cases.

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Written by

Claire Gordon