MX23RW : Friday, November 1 23:04:34| >> :600:285767:285767:

Alleged racial abuse of Gaetan Bong dismissed as "banter" by father and son

Alleged racial abuse of Gaetan Bong dismissed as
© Reuters
Gaetan Bong was reportedly subjected to boos at the match, following a racism row with then-West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez.

A teenage Burnley fan hurled racist abuse at Brighton defender Gaetan Bong during a Premier League match, a court has heard.

Nathan Higgins, 19, allegedly targeted the player with racially aggravated insults during a game between Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion on February 9.

Together with his father, Stewart Higgins, 53, the teenager is also accused of hurling homophobic insults at home fans during the game at Brighton's American Express Community Stadium in East Sussex.

When confronted about their behaviour, Stewart Higgins dismissed the words as "banter", Brighton Magistrates' Court heard.

Stewart Higgins court case
Burnley fan Stewart Higgins arriving at Brighton and Hove Magistrates' Court (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Student Nathan Higgins and engineer Stewart Higgins, both of Talbot Drive, Burnley, Lancashire, appeared at the court for trial on Tuesday.

Nathan Higgins is charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, and using racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress towards Mr Bong, who also plays for the Cameroon national side.

Higgins' father Stewart Higgins is charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Both defendants deny the charges against them.

Prosecutor Dominic Dudkowski said that witness Nicholas Ball was sitting near the two defendants in the stands during the match and overheard "offensive words".

He continued: "He heard Stewart Higgins, the father, shouting the word 'benders' on several occasions toward the home fans.

"The witness then described the son also shouting the word 'benders' a lot towards the Brighton fans."

Gaetan Bong
Brighton & Hove Albion's Gaetan Bong (Nigel French/PA)

The prosecutor said that Nathan Higgins was also heard to shout racist insults at Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

The teenager shouted "black bastard" and called Mr Bong a "n*****", the court heard.

When Mr Ball confronted the pair about their language, the father told him to leave them alone.

The court heard that Stewart Higgins told him: "Mind your own business. It's just banter, we're not racists."

The pair were interviewed by police at the match and then subsequently charged.

During the match, Mr Bong was said to have been subjected to boos from opposition fans after a previous racism row with Burnley-born West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez.

Mr Rodriguez was accused by Mr Bong of racially abusing him during a Premier League game in 2018, leading to an FA charge for the striker.

The FA declared the charge to be "not proven" against Mr Rodriguez.

Jay Rodriguez, who was born in Burnley, re-signed with the Clarets in July this year.

The trial continues.

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Gaetan Bong

Click here for more stories about Brighton & Hove Albion

Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
Jamie Vardy celebrates with Ayoze Perez after scoring for Leicester City on October 25, 2019
Read Next:
PL Team of the Week - Vardy, Perez, Pulisic

Rugby World Cup
Ligue 1
Paris Masters Quarter-Finals
2 5
6 7
6 6
1 2
WTA Championships Round-robin
5 610
7 7 
6 2 6
0 6 4
Scottish Championship
Turkish Super Lig
Danish Superliga
Norwegian Eliteserien
Segunda Division
Serie B
Ligue 2
Eerste Divisie
Premier League 2 - Div 1
Premier League 2 - Div 2
Welsh Premier League
Liga MX
Australian A-League
Chinese Super League
Gallagher Premiership
International Rugby League Friendlies
2Manchester CityMan City107123292322
3Leicester CityLeicester106222581720
6Crystal Palace104331012-215
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd103431310313
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1034398113
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham103431214-213
11Tottenham HotspurSpurs103341615112
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves102621313012
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton103341214-212
15Aston Villa103251516-111
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle10235615-99
19Norwich CityNorwich102171124-137

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!