A Burnley fan will appear in court over allegations he hurled racist abuse during a Brighton and Hove Albion football match.
Two away fans were ejected and arrested after club stewards responded to reports of abuse during Burnley’s 3-1 Premier League victory at the Amex stadium in Brighton on Saturday, police said.
During the game, Brighton defender Gaetan Bong was once again subjected to boos from opposition fans after last season’s racism row with Burnley-born West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez.
On Tuesday, Sussex Police said 18-year-old student Nathan Higgins, of Talbot Drive, Burnley, Lancashire, had been charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, and using racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
Engineer Stewart Higgins, 53, of the same address, was also charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The pair were released on unconditional bail and are due to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on March 14.
The news follows a string of incidents and suggestions from campaigners that discrimination in football is on the rise.
Earlier this month, Brighton boss Chris Hughton called for supporters who abuse footballers to be punished “as hard as possible”.
His comments came after Bong had been subjected to boos and derogatory chants when he came on as a substitute in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay win against West Bromwich Albion.
In January 2018, Bong accused Rodriguez of making a racist comment, an allegation which was “not proven” following an investigation by the Football Association.