Banning order issued over racial abuse to Ireland's Michael Obafemi

Banning order issued over racial abuse to Ireland's Michael Obafemi

A MAN WHO RACIALLY ABUSED Republic of Ireland striker Michael Obafemi has been given a 12-week jail term - suspended for 18 months today.

Josh Phillips, 26, from Cwmbwrla in Swansea, sent the abusive tweet in response to Swansea's announcement of Obafemi's loan move to Burnley Football Club.

The tweet was made on January 28th included a reference to Mr Obafemi’s name and a derogatory racial slur. 

The tweet was quickly deleted, but by that time, the tweet had been seen by numerous people on Twitter. 

The Swansea fan was then arrested on February 1st at his home in Swansea. Phillips pleaded guilty to the offense when he appeared in Swansea Magistrates' Court earlier this month. 

He described his actions as 'disgusting' and went on to tell the police 'he was disappointed by his own actions'. 

District Judge Christopher James handed down the sentence to Phillips today and also imposed an alcohol ban of 120 days, 25 days of rehabilitation, and 160 hours of unpaid work.

Phillips is also banned from going to any Swansea City football match for three years, home or away, or from going to a licensed premises within 2,500m (8,200ft) of the Swansea.Com stadium when Swansea City is playing a match. 

Sentencing Phillips, the Judge James told him: "You posted an offensive message that was grossly offensive, abusive, and racially aggravated. It was posted on a social media platform with no boundaries, meaning the audience is global. 

"You caused significant distress to Michael Obafemi, his family, and his friends. No one deserves to be treated in this way. There is no explanation of why you used such a vile word." 

Obafemi's victim impact statement was read out at Swansea Magistrates' Court earlier this month and said, "The racist abuse towards me was totally unacceptable. 

"It does not matter what I do for a job or what my job is, I'm a human being and don't deserve it. It has been extremely distressing for both myself and my family." The star's statement added, 

"I hope the person who made the comment learns it is not acceptable. Any sort of discrimination is not acceptable, and I, for one, will not accept it." 

Swansea City also released a statement after the verdict saying they welcomed the Judge James sentence on Friday.

"Swansea City welcomes Friday’s verdict that has seen an individual who posted disgusting racist abuse towards Michael Obafemi handed a three-year football banning order.

The club also went on to say: "The club would like to thank South Wales Police for their assistance throughout the investigation, and also praise the bravery shown by Michael in speaking about the impact it has had on him earlier this month.

"We hope that today’s verdict sets a strong precedent for anyone who commits such offences in the future, and that the severity of sentence will help in the process to eradicate such abhorrent behaviour within football and society.

"We remain sickened by the appalling language used in the offending posts and the individual in question does not represent Swansea City or the values of our club and community.

"There is no place for racism or discrimination of any kind in society or football, and both Swansea City and Burnley will continue to support Michael."