Level Playing Field press release


Liverpool fan banned after being found guilty of abusing Man United fans and captain


According to recent reports, a Liverpool fan was last week found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra during an FA Cup fourth-round match in January 2012 and has been banned from all Liverpool and England football matches for four years.


The reports state, according to a prosecution witness, that the fan shouted racial abuse at opposing fans throughout the match, and shouted "f*** off you spastic mutants" in the direction of disabled supporters watching the game.


Level Playing Field was is saddened to learn about this latest incident of hatred and considers the words reported to have been shouted at disabled fans to be deeply offensive. LPF and its members stand firmly against all forms of discrimination.


This action by the Magistrates Court again shows that the criminal justice sector are taking hatred and discriminatory abuse claims seriously at football matches, however it is not clear to LPF whether charges were also brought relating to the man’s alleged abuse of disabled supporters.


Level Playing Field’s Chair, Joyce Cook OBE, said: “It is worrying to learn of such despicable hate. Actions and comments of this nature have no place in our game; neither do the people that carry them out. We have to ensure that all forms of hatred and bigotry our eradicated including disability hate crime which is sadly on the rise both within football and more widely across our society.”


LPF will continue to work with the footballing authorities and other partners to eradicate hatred, abuse and exclusion, and to ensure that the game is truly welcoming and accessible to all.


To read more on the court case please click here:





Editor Notes


Level Playing Field (LPF) was established in 1998 as The National Association of Disabled Supporters (NADS). LPF is the only national registered charity for England and Wales representing disabled fans of all sports together with their personal assistants and advocates. LPF engages with stakeholders from across football and other sports and is proud to have a wide membership that demonstrates this critical collaboration.


LPF’s key objectives are; to be a voice for all disabled fans; to promote an inclusive agenda and ensure an equality of experiences for all fans; to enable more disabled people to attend live football and other sporting events; to raise disability and access awareness through football and other sports and to utilise the unique voice of football to raise awareness and improve the situation more widely across our society.


Disability Hate Crime


Disability hate crime is a crime against disabled people. A disability hate crime could be bullying, name calling, stealing or a physical attack on a disabled person or their property. It is when a person feels hated or hostility towards a disabled person. Disability hate crime occurs because or ignorance, prejudice and discrimination towards disabled people which leaves them feeling scared alone and in fear.


Level Playing Field is aware that incidents of disability hate crime are on the rise. It is well documented that football fans have previously targeted missiles at disabled people in the stands and have in the past made fun of a disabled person’s gait (way of walking) around the stadium.


LPF would like to see improved disability hatred awareness and understanding of this specific issue, especially where disabled people are being targeted, and with actions taken to help prevent these incidents.


The Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2011 published 'Hidden in plain sight' the final report of their inquiry into disability-related harassment. The report uncovers that harassment is a commonplace experience for disabled people, but a culture of disbelief and systemic institutional failures are preventing it from being tackled effectively. As well as reporting on the extent of harassment the report also includes case studies and makes recommendations to public authorities to help them deal with the problems uncovered.


If you experience or witness any discriminatory abuse (whether verbal or physical) please do report it – we can help you to do this in complete confidence – just pick up the phone or email us. It is the only way that we will eradicate this hateful behaviour. Please also see the LPF ‘How to Complain’ document which can be  found on the LPF website.


Email: info@levelplayingfield.org.uk


Tel: 0845 230 6237 or 01244 893584



Web: www.levelplayingfield.org.uk




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