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Feb 1, 2020 at 3pm UK at ​London Stadium
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BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
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Met Police appeal for witnesses after alleged homophobic abuse at West Ham game

Met Police appeal for witnesses after alleged homophobic abuse at West Ham game
© Reuters
Hammers to hand life ban to anyone found guilty of discrimination during clash against Brighton at London Stadium on Saturday.

The Metropolitan Police is appealing for witnesses and footage to assist the investigation into alleged homophobic abuse at West Ham’s Premier League match against Brighton.

There were three arrests in total at the London Stadium on Saturday – two for homophobic incidents and one for assault on an away supporter.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police confirmed homophobic chanting was “heard from a number of individuals during the match in the Sir Trevor Booking Stand” and that “it is believed to have involved home fans”.

West Ham said the club was “disgusted” to hear of the alleged discrimination and would ban for life anyone found guilty of homophobic abuse.

Anyone who is able to provide detectives with video footage has been urged to come forward.

Inspector Matt Ashmead of the Met’s public order investigation team said: “We take allegations such as these extremely seriously and will act accordingly to any information brought to our attention.

“We work in partnership with the club and the stadium safety team to identify those who commit hate crime at football and we will take robust action against them.

“With the assistance of law-abiding fans this weekend we were able to identify and arrest two individuals who were obtusely shouting homophobic abuse towards other supporters during this game.

“We welcome any further information or footage that would supply further evidence, or identify other offenders.

West Ham United v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – London Stadium
West Ham conceded two late goals as Brighton fought back to draw 3-3 at the London Stadium (John Walton/PA)

“Behaviour like this is completely unacceptable and perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions, so that the majority of law-abiding fans can enjoy a football game without the minority ruining their experience.

“If you have any information or footage to support our investigation please call us on 020 8246 9386 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

West Ham drew 3-3 against Brighton – having conceded twice during the closing stages – and currently sit 18th in the Premier League table, one point from safety.

A West Ham supporter has been handed a ban from the London Stadium for the rest of the season and also from purchasing away tickets after wearing a T-shirt in protest against the club’s ownership, it emerged on Tuesday afternoon.

Cameron Robson was a flag bearer ahead of the televised match against Premier League leaders Liverpool on January 29.

The Irons fan opened his jacket to reveal a shirt with the slogan ‘GSB OUT’ in reference to joint-chairmen David Gold and David Sullivan as well as vice-chair Karren Brady.

Robson shared a post on Twitter which included a photograph of the letter sent to him by Peter Swordy, director of health, safety and compliance of London Stadium 185, and Ben Illingworth, West Ham’s head of operations.

The letter detailed how Robson’s action while participating as a flag bearer had breached ground regulations.

“In the operator’s reasonable opinion, your action of displaying provocative messaging was deliberately intended to incite the crowd,” it read.

“As a result of the above, we write to formally inform you that your account has been suspended and you are banned from entering London Stadium and from attending any West Ham United fixture (home or away) or any West Ham United event with immediate effect. The ban imposed is seasonal.”

Robson said he would appeal the decision, and later revealed he had spoken to Illingworth on the phone but “got nowhere”.

West Ham declined to comment on Tuesday evening when contacted by the PA news agency.

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