Tyne & Wear

Sunderland v West Brom match racist gesture man banned

Liam Jones at Sunderland Magistrates Court
Image caption Liam Jones will be banned from football matches

A man who made a racist gesture during a match at Sunderland's Stadium of Light has been given a three-year football banning order.

Liam Jones was charged over the gesture when West Brom's Romelu Lukaku scored a goal in the match, in November.

Jones, 22, of East Vines, Sunderland, admitted causing racially-aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

He was also given an 18-month conditional discharge when he appeared at Sunderland Magistrates Court.

Jones was seen in the stands making a monkey gesture during the match, which Sunderland went on to lose 4-2 on 24 November.

He later claimed to reporters he was doing a "chicken dance" and originally denied the charge but changed his plea to guilty when he appeared in court on Thursday.

The banning order will prevent him from attending football matches.

Ch Supt Steve Neill, of Northumbria Police, said: "Racist behaviour of any kind will not be tolerated and Northumbria Police will fully investigate any reports made to us.

"We know people who are responsible for these actions are part of a small minority and would continue to encourage anyone who sees this kind of behaviour to report it to us and help us rid football of any racism."

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