A man has been banned from attending football matches after online antisemitic abuse against a journalist.

Kerry Hardwell, from Bognor, sent the antisemitic messages to a fellow supporter of Chelsea Football Club.

The 35-year-old directed the abuse online at Dan Levene, who formerly covered Chelsea Football Club as a journalist and campaigned against racism and antisemitism in football.

Hardwell also regularly posted hate speech using antisemitic tropes towards other public figures on social media.

Mr Levene reported a tweet to police, resulting in Hardwell, 35, being charged with sending an offensive message on social media, which he admitted at Worthing Magistrates’ Court.

In a victim statement read to court, Mr Levene, who used to work for The Athletic, said: “The 'Y-word' is three letters that are often thrown away by people who may claim they don't fully appreciate their collective meaning; with some football fans among that number.

“But everyone, most notably the defendant here, should be aware that it is a racially offensive word – and its use in a pejorative sense, as in this case, is a hate crime.

“This word, and variants of it, have been used throughout history by extremists to demonise and persecute a minority. My minority. This history is relevant, because it explains the pernicious nature of the word's usage today.”

Mr Levene, added that the impact of messages such as those sent by Hardwell, of Westminster Drive in Bognor, contributed to his decision to stop reporting on Chelsea. He and his family had supported the club for three generations.

Mr Levene has also campaigned against racism and antisemitism in football.

Sussex Police dedicated football officer PC Darren Balkham said: “The vitriol in the messages were sent in the belief that because the person was behind a keyboard, they wouldn’t be identified.


“The defendant was wrong, and Hardwell will now have learned this lesson.

“There is no place for antisemitic and racist abuse, either in football or in society.

“During this case we have liaised closely with Metropolitan Police and with Chelsea FC to ensure the club have the full facts of the investigation for their own action to be taken.”

Hardwell was given a football banning order for three years, meaning that he cannot attend professional football matches in England.

The scaffolder was also ordered to completed 200 hours of unpaid work as well as pay £85 costs and a £114 victim surcharge.

A spokesperson for Chelsea Football Club said: "Chelsea FC condemns antisemitic abuse and hate speech in all its forms and we have no tolerance for it at our club.

"As soon as Sussex Police made us aware, Hardwell was suspended pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

"Subsequent to Hardwell’s conviction, we can confirm that he has been issued with a lifetime ban from Chelsea FC.

"We commend Dan Levene for coming forward. Nobody should have to be subject to the type of disgusting abuse he has had to endure.”

Sussex County Football Association has also been informed of the banning order imposed.