Selby man sent racist email to England boss Gareth Southgate over players taking knee

Gareth Southgate/England taking the knee
Southgate received the email after England lost to Hungary. Credit: PA

A court has heard a man sent an abusive email full of racist expletives to Gareth Southgate over players taking the knee.

Brian Martin, 36, from Selby, sent the message to the England manager immediately after his side lost 1-0 to Hungary in the Nations League in Budapest, on 4 June.

Martin used language "of a racist nature" to refer to black players as he criticised decisions made by the manager and the team's defeat, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

A spokesman for the CPS said that Martin accepted that he sent the email but denied its contents were offensive or indecent.

Martin was found guilty of one count of sending by public communication network an offensive or indecent message, at York Magistrates' Court on Monday.

Senior crown prosecutor Adam Featherstone, said: "The content of this message was not only grossly offensive, but racist.

"Martin now has a criminal record to show for it, which is likely to impact his life and future prospects.

"This result sends a clear message, that racist language in any form will not be tolerated and the CPS will not hesitate to prosecute these offences whenever our legal test is met."

As England started their World Cup campaign with an energetic victory over Iran at Doha's Khalifa International Stadium, the national sports lead for the CPS, Douglas Mackay said: "Hate crime has no place within society let alone sport."

He added: "At the World Cup, we hope the England and Wales teams do their countries proud.

"However, fans must not let their passion overspill into racial abuse of players for what they do on the pitch, like we saw overshadow Euro 2020."

Mr Mackay issued a warning as the World Cup gets underway, saying "the law has been extended so those who abuse players online face being banned from watching football."

"We will use these powers to those who we prosecute," he said.

Martin will be sentenced on December 13.

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