Football fan sentenced for racist slur against West Ham steward

A general view as West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski makes a save during the Premier League

West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski makes a save during the Premier League match at the London Stadium in July 2020. - Credit: PA

A Leeds United football fan has been sentenced to a 12 month community order for racially harassing a West Ham steward at a football match.

Paul Taylor, 60, was being escorted out of West Ham United’s London football ground due to his behaviour. After he was escorted out he returned and verbally abused a steward with a racist slur.

Season ticket holder Paul had been at the stadium to watch Leeds United play West Ham in a third round FA cup match on January 9 when the incident took place. 

Today, (Wednesday, March 30) he was sentenced to a 12 month community order at Stratford Magistrates’ Court.

The sentence was uplifted from a fine to a community order to take into account the hate crime element. Paul was ordered to undertake a rehabilitation activity for 15 days and he has been excluded from any football matches in the UK for a period of five months.

In addition, Paul must pay £500 compensation to the victim, as well as £85 costs and £95 victim surcharge.

Paul pleaded guilty to one count of racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment at an earlier hearing.

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Varinder Hayre, district crown prosecutor of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Calling out racist language is vital in stamping out hate crime. Hate crime will not be tolerated. These vile words and acts have no place in football or any sport or society.

“Paul Taylor’s behaviour was racist and inexcusable. When interviewed by police officers he told them that he had drunk eight pints of Peroni on the day of the match.

“I would like to thank staff at West Ham who supported the prosecution by reporting the incident and providing statements. I hope this conviction encourages more victims to come forward and report such hateful crimes in the knowledge that we will prosecute the perpetrators.”