An Albion fan has been banned from American Express Community Stadium for five years for racist abuse.

Brighton and Hove Albion has issued a five-year ban to a Seagulls supporter who was heard using racist language during the game against Leeds United on November 2.

Fellow fans seated close to the man in the West Stand reported the offensive term to the club after overhearing him speaking to a friend.

Following an investigation, the man was traced by club staff and admitted using racist language.

He agreed that his behaviour was unacceptable and immediately apologised to the club.

A club spokesman said: “We have a zero tolerance policy on racial or homophobic language and abuse, and on this occasion the penalty may have been stiffer, and further action may have been taken, but for the individual’s immediate cooperation and remorse.

“We feel this punishment is appropriate and the perpetrator has learned from the incident and genuinely believes they will not behave in this manner again.”

A spokesman for Kick It Out, football’s anti-racism campaign, said: “We praise Brighton and Hove Albion for its swift, decisive action on the matter.

“It demonstrates the seriousness with which the club takes abuse and unacceptable behaviour.

“This trend of clubs taking responsibility and dealing with the matter internally is something we applaud, and see more and more adopting.”

The club is encouraging any fans encountering racist, homophobic or antisocial language or behaviour to use its text line, 07880 196442, or to speak to a steward at the time of the offence happening.

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