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Manchester City fan given five-year ban for racist Sterling abuse

20:57 GMT+3 10/01/2020
Raheem Sterling Manchester City 2019-20
The 58-year-old man abused the forward during a Premier League match against Bournemouth in December 2018

A Manchester City fan has been banned from attending football matches for five years after pleading guilty to racially abusing Manchester City star Raheem Sterling.

Ian Baldry, 58, was sentenced by Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Friday after he abused Sterling during a Premier League match against Bournemouth in December 2018.

Baldry, who told the court that he regretted his actions, was also ordered to serve 200 hours of community service.

The court was told that Sterling did not hear Baldry's comments during the game, but the fan was reported to police by a fellow supporter who did hear the remarks. 

“It was disgusting in this day and age that this was going on. I was shocked and offended and felt sick to my stomach when I heard it," the supporter's witness statement said. 

James McConell, a friend of Baldry's, also pleaded guilty to racially abusing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings and stewards, and will also carry out 200 hours of community service.

Judge John Temperely told Baldry: “The kind of language used by you and [your] co-accused risks wider public disorder in matches and could encourage others to behave in the same way.”

The two fans' sentences come one day after a fan in Italy was handed a five-year ban from all sporting events after his racist abuse of Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.

The 38-year-old, who was not named, was given the ban after Balotelli reported hearing monkey chants from the stands during Brescia's match at Hellas Verona on November 3. 

Balotelli and Sterling have each been the victim of racial abuse from fans on multiple occasions, with both players outspoken about a problem that has become widespread in football. 

Just last weekend, Brescia's game at Lazio was stopped after the half-hour mark following monkey chants from sections of the Lazio supporters.

"Lazio fans that were today at the stadium SHAME ON YOU! #saynotoracism," read a post from Balotelli on Instagram following the match. 

Sterling has also become a leading voice in the fight against racism.

"The people doing it need to wake up and understand it's a new era and discrimination is not something anybody should face," Sterling said in an interview with Sky Sports in September.

"We need to grow up as a society and realise we're only out here doing our jobs. We are human beings and we have feelings."