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Man Utd fan banned for mocking Hillsborough tragedy
A Manchester United fan was fined and banned from football in the UK for four years on Monday, for wearing a replica shirt mocking the Hillsborough disaster.
Police received a number of complaints about James White's shirt with the figure "97" and the words "Not Enough" on the back at the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium earlier this month.
It referred to the 97 fans of United's arch rivals Liverpool who were victims of a crush during an FA Cup semi-final match at the stadium in Sheffield in April 1989.
White, 33, admitted a single charge of displaying threatening or abusive writing likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
"It is hard to imagine a more... offensive reference to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster," judge Mark Jabbitt told him when he appeared in court in northwest London for sentencing.
Jabbitt fined White £1,000 ($1,280) with a £400 victim surcharge and ordered him to pay £85 in court costs.
He also banned him from attending football for four years.
White was arrested after photographs of him wearing the shirt were posted and shared online, prompting his arrest by police.
When questioned, he initially claimed the shirt was a reference to his grandfather, who died aged 97 and "didn't have enough kids", the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Douglas Mackay, CPS national lead prosecutor for sport, said it was working closely with football authorities, police and clubs to stamp out the "appalling and horrendous incidents of tragedy chanting and gesturing".
"We are sending a clear message that we call on so-called fans to stop this vile behaviour of a minority which has a terrible impact on the bereaved and communities," he added.
"If they do not then they face the risk of being excluded from the game they claim to love."
Last week a Spurs fan was banned from football for three years for making gestures mocking the Hillsborough tragedy during a match at Liverpool's ground in April.
The Premier League promised to act after supporters of United and Leeds traded sickening chants about the 1958 Munich air disaster that killed eight players from the Old Trafford club, and the death of two Leeds fans in Istanbul in 2000.