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Man admits football match threats

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A man has admitted using threats at a football game for under-15 year-olds.

Colin Francks (50) was due to stand trial yesterday after denying his role in the disturbance that followed a match between Blaby & Whetstone Boys Club and Leicester Nirvana in October.

Six prosecution witnesses who heard spectator Francks making threats after the match were preparing to give evidence at the trial, but the defendant changed his plea to guilty just before the case was due to begin.

He admitted one charge of using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress at the match on October 21 and was given a 12-month conditional discharge.

Francks, of Linwood Lane, Leicester, did not speak during the hearing at Leicester Magistrates' Court except to confirm his name and address.

Kirk Master, chairman of Leicester Nirvana FC, based in Rushey Mead, said: "After a frustrating nine-month wait, the club are pleased that some justice for our youngsters has been achieved.

"I hope this sends a message to other people out there that behaviour in that manner isn't acceptable. I hope it encourages other clubs to pursue cases against spectators who behave like this."

The matter was reported to police by Leicester Nirvana FC, which has black and Asian players. Police were told that other spectators had made monkey noises and offensive gestures and threats during the game, which took place in Warwick Road, Whetstone.

Mr Master said: "During the match, some people were shouting racial slurs and making monkey chants. There was a racial element to what happened and although it's disappointing nobody was charged with a racially aggravated offence, we're pleased with the way this case was pursued by the police."

Leicestershire Football Association has brought its own charges against Blaby & Whetstone Boys Club since the incident last year. It put its action on hold while Francks's case was dealt with.

The county FA charged Blaby & Whetstone Boys Club FC with "failing to ensure supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion" and failing to keep them off the pitch.

An unnamed player from Blaby & Whetstone was charged with racially or religiously-aggravated abuse and making similar threatening comments on Twitter.

Two other players were charged with improper conduct for comments made on Facebook and the match referee was charged with failing to report the improper conduct.

Keith Murdoch, chief executive officer at the Leicestershire FA, said the FA's investigation would begin as soon as possible. He said: "We will be holding our own hearing, hopefully before the start of the new season.

"It is unusual for police involvement in a youth game like this but we give our full co-operation when it does happen."

Man admits football match threats


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