LiveGuilty: Former Albion player convicted of making homophobic gesture at Amex crowd

First published in News
Last updated
by

Enable automatic updates every minute? YES NO

Summary

  • Former Blackburn Rovers footballer Colin Kazim-Richards has been found guilty of making a homophobic gesture at a match against his former club Brighton and Hove Albion.
  • Kazim-Richards has been fined £750 for the "insulting" gesture he made to the crowd at The Amex.

4:34pm

Outside court, PC Darren Balkham, football liaison officer for Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove Albion, said they hoped that today's conviction would show that homophobia was not acceptable on the terraces or in society.

He said: "The Brighton fans have been subjected to a lot of homophobic abuse over many years and this was somewhat of a test case involving a professional footballer."

PC Balkham said Kazim-Richard's actions stepped over the line of what was reasonable and acceptable banter at a football match and added that it was not acceptable to do something like that on the pitch.

He said: "This was the first case where a professional footballer has been convicted of making a homophobic gesture towards the crowd.

"I have been doing this job for 15 seasons and Brighton fans have been subjected during that time to pockets of homophobic abuse around the country.

"We are where racism was 20 years ago but I do not think it is going to take us 20 years to catch up with society as it is today.

"We deal with homophobic incidents day in, day out. On the football side of it, we have had to educate people.

"Colin Kazim-Richards played for Brighton. He knew what Brighton is about and he admitted that in court.

"People do things in the heat of the moment but when you are on show like a professional footballer is, you are always on show.

"When you do something like this, you have to take the consequences."

Pc Balkham said he had been in constant contact with the Football Association, which had told him it would not be taking any action until the court case concluded.

But he said it had little power to do anything now the footballer plays in Turkey.

4:06pm

 A PA picture of Kazim-Richards, centre, leaving the court via a back entrance. 

The Argus:

3:32pm

Now we have a guilty verdict, I have opened comments on the story. Please let us know your reaction below. 

3:28pm

(For anyone wondering where the victim surcharge goes to, it won't be split equally between everyone who was at The Amex - it's used to fund victim services through the Government's Victim and Witness General Fund.)

3:26pm

Kazim-Richards has been fined £750 plus a £75 victim surcharge and £620 costs. 

3:19pm

Costs are now being discussed. Mr Reiz, defending Kazim-Richards, said an appeal is likely. 

3:18pm

Chair of the bench Darren Reynolds said witness accounts were "very clear" and they agreed they were "insulting".

3:17pm

We have a guilty verdict. More follows. 

2:51pm

No news from court - Argus reporter Ben James says the magistrates have yet to come back. 

2:17pm

Before the court reconvenes, some more from PA: 

Kazim-Richards, who now plays for Turkish club Bursaspor, said he did not agree with discrimination in "any shape or form" and told the court he had been an ambassador for the Kick It Out Campaign.

He described himself as a "flamboyant" player who had interacted with the crowd to "acknowledge" and "accept" the banter but that he would never make a homophobic gesture.

Mr Reiz said that hand gestures were made during football matches all the time and that due to Brighton having a large gay community an innocent hand gesture made behind his back had been perceived as being homophobic.

He said that Kazim-Richards "promoted diversity" and that for him to put that to one side to make a homophobic gesture was "beyond belief".

The court also heard from three character witnesses who described Kazim-Richards as polite, approachable and respectful.

1:04pm

Court has now adjourned for lunch. They are due back at 2.15pm where the Magistrates are expected to give their verdict.

12:53pm

All evidence is finished and the Magistrates are now considering the verdict.

12:44pm

Stan Reiz, representing Kazim-Richards, said his client was "throroughly honourable" and promoted diversity. 

He said: "That he would put that all to one side to make a disparaging gesture to supporters who once sang his name beggars belief."

He added prosecution witnesses had "jumped to conclusions" due to nature of some of the abuse Albion fans receive. 

12:33pm

A report of the trial so far from PA, who have also been covering the case: 

Former Blackburn Rovers footballer Colin Kazim-Richards mimicked pulling his shorts down, put his left arm behind his bottom and made a homophobic gesture towards the crowd while playing against one of his previous clubs, a court has heard.

The 27-year-old, who was known as the Coca Cola Kid after being bought by Brighton and Hove Albion with proceeds won in a competition run by the drinks company, was on loan to Blackburn when he was allegedly seen making the gesture during Blackburn's Championship match against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on February 12 last year.

At one point he was seen by a witness backing into Brighton player Wayne Bridge and simulating a sex act which was deemed to be homophobic, Brighton and Hove Magistrates' Court was told.

Prosecutor Simon Allen told the court that Kazim-Richards, from Bishops Stortford, made the alleged gesture to Brighton and Hove Albion fans who were chanting "you fat b*****d" and "you're fat and you know you are" at him.

He said: "It seems that the player reacted to this and he mimicked pulling down his shorts and with his left hand behind his back mimicked that he had something in his hand and moved it back and forward."

Mr Allen said that each time he did this the chants from the crowd grew louder.

Christopher Cannon and his son Daryl, who were working as match day press stewards at the Amex, told the court they saw Kazim-Richards make the gesture more than once.

Both men told the court they found it offensive and perceived it to be homophobic.

Mr Cannon junior said: "I perceived it as a very wrong thing to do, particularly for someone who's involved with the Kick It Out Campaign.

"Racism and homophobia are on the same level."

Season-ticket-holder Darren Hastings, who sits in the lower west stand, said he noticed Kazim-Richards make the obscene gesture four or five times during the match.

He said it was his perception that the player was trying to get a reaction from the crowd, and that he was succeeding.

He said he was disappointed that neither the linesman or referee reacted to what was going on and said: "It was utterly disgusting.

"I understand that football players receive a number of gestures or comments from the crowd but I certainly did not expect to see a football player perform that gesture on the pitch."

Stan Reiz, defending Kazim-Richards, said that hand gestures were made during football matches all the time and that due to the Brighton having a large gay community an innocent hand gesture made behind his back had been perceived as being homophobic.

London-born Kazim-Richards, who now plays for Turkish club Bursaspor, is charged with one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, within the sight or hearing of a person, likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

 

12:21pm

Asked if he was getting frustrated at the game, Kazim-Richards said: "I was having a good game and we were winning so don't know how it would bother me. "

12:18pm

Kazim-Richards is now in the witness box. He is telling the court he made a gesture, but that it was not homophobic. 

He said one was the sign which denotes general masturbation, and one was the "talking mouth" sign. 

He added it was banter, and he was just interacting with the crowd. 

11:55am

Next up on the stand is Albion fan Michael Beard (no relation to Argus editor Michael Beard). 

He said he saw Kazim-Ricahrds make a homophobic gesture in the second half following abusive chants from home fans. 

He added he was "saddened" by the player's reaction. 

11:38am

Mr Hastings said Kazim-Richards seemed to be getting frustrated with how the game was progressing. He added he couldn't recall any abuse from the fans to Kazim-Richards.

11:24am

He added that Colin Kazim-Richards backed into Brighton player Warne Bridge and made another obscene gesture. 

11:24am

He said the player pretended to put something up his backside four or five times. 

11:16am

Darren Hastings, season ticket holder of five years, told the court he was "utterly disgusted" by an "obscene" gesture made by Colin Kazim-Richards. 

11:03am

Chris Cannon, Albion press steward, told the court he saw the former Albion player Kazim-Richards make the gesture twice towards the fans.

He said he perceived it to be a homophobic gesture aimed at the Albion fans. 

11:02am

Prosecutor Simon Allen claims Colin Kazim-Richards made a gesture after receiving abuse from home fans.

He said there were chants of "you fat bastard" and "you're fat and you know you are". 

Colin Kazim-Richards pretended to pull his shorts down and made a gesture denoting masturbation towards his backside, Mr Allen said. 

10:59am

Former Blackburn Rovers footballer Colin Kazim-Richards is standing trial accused of making a homophobic gesture at a match against his former club Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 27-year-old allegedly made a gesture to the crowd during Blackburn's Championship match against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on February 12 last year.

Kazim-Richards, who now plays for Turkish club Bursaspor, is charged with one count of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, within the sight or hearing of a person, likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The London-born footballer's trial was meant to take place at Brighton Magistrates' Court in January but was adjourned until Wednesday.

Argus reporter Ben  James is in court. 

Comments (17)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:56pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Tedious Pedant says...

Naughty boy.
Naughty boy. Tedious Pedant
  • Score: 0

4:01pm Wed 9 Apr 14

concernedofBrighton says...

Fine in his circumstances is irrelevant as it's pocket change.

A more fitting punishment would have been community service where he could give anti-homophobia talks to teens.

What will hurt is the fact that he is now a convicted criminal (subject to any successful appeal) and that could have life implications.
Fine in his circumstances is irrelevant as it's pocket change. A more fitting punishment would have been community service where he could give anti-homophobia talks to teens. What will hurt is the fact that he is now a convicted criminal (subject to any successful appeal) and that could have life implications. concernedofBrighton
  • Score: 11

4:04pm Wed 9 Apr 14

brightonaire says...

What about members of the crowd abusing him and provoking him.. surely their actions are worthy of prosecution as well.... football is a farce. .. those fans who abuse people should be banned for life... utter scumbags
What about members of the crowd abusing him and provoking him.. surely their actions are worthy of prosecution as well.... football is a farce. .. those fans who abuse people should be banned for life... utter scumbags brightonaire
  • Score: -13

4:07pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Joel'sGrandad says...

It's hardly the crime of the century but he's been found guilty and he pays his fine which is peanuts to a footballer. Wouldn't this have been better handled by a stern talking to by his club or the F.A. and a fine and/or apology.
Can we expect the Yeovil substitute being given a similar sentence for a similar gesture at Yeovil this season. And what about Vinnie Jones being had up for fondling Gazza's testimonials a few decades ago.
The World's gone mad. We're such sensitive creatures these days.
It's hardly the crime of the century but he's been found guilty and he pays his fine which is peanuts to a footballer. Wouldn't this have been better handled by a stern talking to by his club or the F.A. and a fine and/or apology. Can we expect the Yeovil substitute being given a similar sentence for a similar gesture at Yeovil this season. And what about Vinnie Jones being had up for fondling Gazza's testimonials a few decades ago. The World's gone mad. We're such sensitive creatures these days. Joel'sGrandad
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Mart says...

£750 is pocket money to this geezer.

As a much more fitting punishment I would have locked him in the Revenge Club for the evening, with only pair of a*seless leather chaps to protect his modesty.
£750 is pocket money to this geezer. As a much more fitting punishment I would have locked him in the Revenge Club for the evening, with only pair of a*seless leather chaps to protect his modesty. Mart
  • Score: 5

4:44pm Wed 9 Apr 14

urbanjim says...

4.06pm caption:
"A PA picture of Kazim-Richards, centre, leaving the court via a back entrance. "
A bit of of toungue-in-cheek there mayhaps!?
4.06pm caption: "A PA picture of Kazim-Richards, centre, leaving the court via a back entrance. " A bit of of toungue-in-cheek there mayhaps!? urbanjim
  • Score: 11

4:52pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Bill in Hanover says...

What I can't understand is that homosexuality is not an offence any more, in fact it is classed an an ordinary lifestyle choice, the same as heterosexuality so why is it an offence to imply that someone (or the whole crowd) is homosexual. Would I be arrested if I was in a crowd and shouted to a player that I thought he liked women.
What I can't understand is that homosexuality is not an offence any more, in fact it is classed an an ordinary lifestyle choice, the same as heterosexuality so why is it an offence to imply that someone (or the whole crowd) is homosexual. Would I be arrested if I was in a crowd and shouted to a player that I thought he liked women. Bill in Hanover
  • Score: 3

6:57pm Wed 9 Apr 14

special brew says...

Political correctness is like paranoia !
Political correctness is like paranoia ! special brew
  • Score: 5

10:07pm Wed 9 Apr 14

qm says...

Wouldn't recognise an homophobic gesture if I saw one! Perhaps someone could enlighten me to avoid inadvertently being persecuted by the politically correct miscreants who wander through life with a chip on both shoulders.
Wouldn't recognise an homophobic gesture if I saw one! Perhaps someone could enlighten me to avoid inadvertently being persecuted by the politically correct miscreants who wander through life with a chip on both shoulders. qm
  • Score: 3

11:03pm Wed 9 Apr 14

greeg2 says...

So,in turn,and presumably if he thinks what he's done is acceptable,this guy won't mind if somneone calls him a n i g ger?
So,in turn,and presumably if he thinks what he's done is acceptable,this guy won't mind if somneone calls him a n i g ger? greeg2
  • Score: 1

11:23pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Hugh Oxford says...

Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society?
Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society? Hugh Oxford
  • Score: 1

11:34pm Wed 9 Apr 14

Levent says...

I'm only surprised all you "libs" haven't called for the death penalty.
Oh well, maybe you'll be lucky enough to be offended again sometime soon,
as we all know it's what you live for!
I'm only surprised all you "libs" haven't called for the death penalty. Oh well, maybe you'll be lucky enough to be offended again sometime soon, as we all know it's what you live for! Levent
  • Score: -3

3:20pm Thu 10 Apr 14

RickH says...

Hugh Oxford wrote:
Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society?
In the same way one doesn't choose your ethnicity, one does not choose your sexuality and thus sexual behaviour. To believe that being gay is somehow a 'life-style choice' is a school of thought that went out with the Ark. Such behaviour exhibited by this player could be regarded as a criminal offence as defined by Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) if it meets the specific parameters set out in paragraph (1) of same.
[quote][p][bold]Hugh Oxford[/bold] wrote: Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society?[/p][/quote]In the same way one doesn't choose your ethnicity, one does not choose your sexuality and thus sexual behaviour. To believe that being gay is somehow a 'life-style choice' is a school of thought that went out with the Ark. Such behaviour exhibited by this player could be regarded as a criminal offence as defined by Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) if it meets the specific parameters set out in paragraph (1) of same. RickH
  • Score: 2

5:42pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Man of steel says...

I'm with qm here, I would not recognize the gesture either, and as he asked for enlightenment nearly 18 hours ago, it seems as if nobody knows what form the gesture takes.
I'm with qm here, I would not recognize the gesture either, and as he asked for enlightenment nearly 18 hours ago, it seems as if nobody knows what form the gesture takes. Man of steel
  • Score: 2

9:20pm Thu 10 Apr 14

Hugh Oxford says...

RickH wrote:
Hugh Oxford wrote:
Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society?
In the same way one doesn't choose your ethnicity, one does not choose your sexuality and thus sexual behaviour. To believe that being gay is somehow a 'life-style choice' is a school of thought that went out with the Ark. Such behaviour exhibited by this player could be regarded as a criminal offence as defined by Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) if it meets the specific parameters set out in paragraph (1) of same.
Of course people choose their sexual behaviour. We aren't animals.
[quote][p][bold]RickH[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hugh Oxford[/bold] wrote: Comparing being black with practising homosexuality is deeply offensive. Kazim-Richards wasn't teasing people for what they might be, but what they might actually do: hence the gesture. Since when was mocking or criticising a form of sexual behaviour a criminal offence in a free society?[/p][/quote]In the same way one doesn't choose your ethnicity, one does not choose your sexuality and thus sexual behaviour. To believe that being gay is somehow a 'life-style choice' is a school of thought that went out with the Ark. Such behaviour exhibited by this player could be regarded as a criminal offence as defined by Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 (amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) if it meets the specific parameters set out in paragraph (1) of same.[/p][/quote]Of course people choose their sexual behaviour. We aren't animals. Hugh Oxford
  • Score: 1

12:30am Fri 11 Apr 14

Man of steel says...

I have now been told that the gesture involves walking with your hand on your hip.
If this is true, then in the words of a TV characture I cannot beieve it.
I have now been told that the gesture involves walking with your hand on your hip. If this is true, then in the words of a TV characture I cannot beieve it. Man of steel
  • Score: 1

5:31pm Fri 11 Apr 14

greeg2 says...

Man of steel wrote:
I have now been told that the gesture involves walking with your hand on your hip.
If this is true, then in the words of a TV characture I cannot beieve it.
I cannot "beieve" your spelling.
[quote][p][bold]Man of steel[/bold] wrote: I have now been told that the gesture involves walking with your hand on your hip. If this is true, then in the words of a TV characture I cannot beieve it.[/p][/quote]I cannot "beieve" your spelling. greeg2
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree