Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Emiliano Sala: Three Southampton fans fined for plane gestures

Sala posing with a Cardiff City shirt on 20 January Image copyright AFP
Image caption Emiliano Sala had just signed with Cardiff City at the time of the plane crash

Three football fans who made aeroplane taunts after the death of Emiliano Sala have been fined.

The trio made the "abusive gestures" shortly after a minute's silence in memory of the player at Southampton's match against Cardiff in February.

It was the first time the Welsh side had played since the Argentine striker's death in a plane crash on 21 January.

One of the men was also given a four-year football banning order.

Image copyright Other
Image caption (Left to right) James Downey, Mark Ferrett and Jake Carman were filmed by Cardiff fans making the gesture

Emiliano Sala had been flying from Nantes, in France, to join Cardiff City when the light aircraft he was in crashed into the sea.

On 9 February, Southampton Magistrates' Court heard, fans at St Mary's stadium joined clubs across the country in observing a pre-match silence.

'Forward diving motion'

About 25 minutes into the game, prosecutors said, there was a "change in the atmosphere" when Cardiff fans saw home supporters making gestures.

Fans of both teams contacted police, and the three men were eventually charged.

One 47-year-old James Downey, admitted making a "forward diving motion" mimicking a plane.

Jake Carman, 49, told police he was "just being stupid", while Mark Ferrett, 53, said he had "let myself down and the club down".

Image caption Southampton played Cardiff at St Mary's Stadium on 9 February

Each man admitted using threatening, abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

  • Downey, of Southlands Way, Shoreham-by-sea, was fined £520
  • Carman, of Deacon Road, Southampton, was fined £635
  • Ferrett of Romsey Road, Lockerley, was fined £427

Carman and Ferrett are contesting football banning orders, which would prevent them attending further matches.

Hampshire Constabulary's football officer Andrew Darbyshire said the minute's silence before the game was "impeccably observed" but the three men were a "small minority whose behaviour goes over the line".

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