Chelsea have banned a fan for a minimum of 10 years for launching anti-Semitic abuse at a Jewish journalist, after a court previously found the offender not guilty due to having committed his crime outside UK jurisdiction.
Sam Mole, 2020, was originally charged for sending racially or religiously aggravated malicious communications to Dan Levene.
Mole, who hails from Kettering in the East Midlands of the UK, sent a string of abusive tweets aimed at Levene in October 2019, then was forced to appear at Leicester Magistrates Court in February of this year.
For having posted the tweets in Australia however, therefore landing him outside of British jurisdiction, he was found not guilty and hit with a three-year restraining order.
This prohibits him from contacting Levene in any fashion, including posting messages about him on social media or encouraging that others do so.
Deciding to take their own action, however, Chelsea have slapped Mole – who told Levene he “should have been murdered by Nazis” – with a ban that will span a decade.
“Following the conclusion of court proceedings in February, the club conducted our own investigation into the matter and has taken the decision to ban the individual from Chelsea FC for a period of 10 years,” a statement read on Friday.
“Everybody at Chelsea is proud to be part of a diverse club. Our players, staff, fans and visitors to the club come from a wide range of backgrounds, including the Jewish community, and we want to ensure everyone feels safe, valued and included. We will not tolerate any behavior from supporters that threatens that aim,” it continued.
Statement on sanctions in response to abusive messages.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 30, 2021
“More broadly, we are clear that there can be no place in our game, nor our society, for racism, antisemitism, homophobia, sexism or any form of discrimination. In sport, as in wider society, we must create a social media environment where hateful and discriminatory actions are as unacceptable online as they would be on the street.
“As a club, we will continue to take action against individuals or groups who produce or disseminate social media posts that contravene these values,” Chelsea concluded.
Responding to a Twitter post publishing the correspondence, fans generally applauded the move – though one suggested Mole should have received a “lifelong ban”.
“It’s not like we [are speaking] about an unfortunate accident or a minor thing,” he wrote.
“Racists shouldn’t be allowed to come back unless they prove [they can] do better in the future. Send them to work-shops and let them sign a statement before re-entering.”
For lodging racist abuse at Korean player Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur earlier in April, Manchester United also announced on Friday that they had suspended a trio of season-ticket holders, one person on the waiting list, and two members.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 30, 2021
“This disciplinary action demonstrates the club’s commitment to the fight against discrimination on many fronts. It follows the launch of United’s anti-discrimination campaign, SEE RED, earlier this month,” their own statement on the matter read.
“SEE RED called on fans to celebrate the contribution of the club’s Black and Asian players and to report discriminatory behaviour…. [and] United will work with the Premier League to escalate any complaints received to the social media platforms and the relevant authorities,” the club vowed.