Everton fan receives three year match ban over Munich air disaster tragedy chanting at Old Trafford

General view inside the stadium ahead of a Premier League match at Old Trafford
Mark Finnigan was seen by police making "a hand gesture... related to the Munich air disaster" towards the home crowd. Credit: PA Images

A football fan has been banned from attending matches for three years after mocking the Munich air disaster.

Everton supporter Mark Finnigan was at Old Trafford football stadium watching his club face Manchester United on 9 March 2024.

After the reds were awarded a penalty, the 24-year-old was seen by police making "a hand gesture...related to the Munich air disaster" towards the home crowd.

23 people, including eight Manchester United players and three members of club staff, were killed in the Munich Air Disaster on 6 February 1958.

Finnigan was removed from the crowd and arrested on suspicion of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour with intent to cause harassment, alarm, or distress.

He admitted the gesture "could be interpreted as being related to the Munich air disaster" and pleaded guilty on Wednesday 10 April.

As well as receiving a three-year ban from all matches, he was also handed a six month conditional discharge - which could result in a harsher sentence should he ignore the ban.

Dave Lewis, Everton’s Head of Security and Stadium Safety Officer, said: “We have a clear and well-publicised zero-tolerance policy on all forms of discrimination and that includes chanting or actions related to tragedies.

“The Club will not hesitate to act and deal with any reported instances of such anti-social behaviour or hate crimes.

“This conviction and the sentencing is a clear statement that any such behaviour has no place at our Club and in our society.”

Douglas Mackay, Crown Prosecution Service national lead prosecutor for sport, said: “I hope this case will serve as a reminder to others that if they involve themselves in tragedy chanting, they face the risk of being excluded from the game they claim to love.”

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