Northern Ireland

Birdie Song: Football fan in court over pitchside performance at NI game

Referee holding red card Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The fan approached the touchline during Northern Ireland's friendly match against Latvia last November and performed the song.

A football fan who performed the Birdie Song at the side of the pitch during Northern Ireland's game against Latvia has had his wings clipped by a court.

James Burns, from Hydepark Manor, Newtownabbey, County Antrim, admitted unlawfully going on to an area where football spectators are not allowed.

But he contested a bid to impose a five-year match banning order on him.

He was bound over to keep the peace after agreeing to stay away from all home international matches this year.

He was also fined £250, plus a £15 offender levy.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard Burns approached the touchline during Northern Ireland's friendly match against Latvia last November and performed the song.

The incident was captured on CCTV and he was charged.

Despite accepting that he had committed the offence, Burns contested prosecutors' attempts to impose a football banning order, which would have seen him excluded from all regulated games in Northern Ireland for up to five years.

His defence barrister argued that his actions did not meet the legislative test for such a sentence and claimed Burns' behaviour did not amount to disorder.

The judge said the defendant's actions could amount to a form of interference, but he refused to impose a banning order, ruling that it was not necessary for preventing future violence or disorder.

Instead, Burns was bound over to keep the peace in the sum of £750.

It includes a specific undertaking not to attend Windsor Park for any international friendly or competitive games at which a Northern Ireland team is playing for a period of one year.

Related Topics