Football fan who mocked Emiliano Sala's death with aeroplane gesture given ban

A Reading fan has received a Football Banning Order after making a gesture mocking the death of plane crash victim Emiliano Sala.

Stuart Webb, 34, was seen stretching his arms out and making an aeroplane gesture on January 21 during a Reading game against Cardiff City. Sala died in a plane crash over the English Channel shortly after he was signed as a striker for Cardiff in January 2019.

Scores of bluebird fans reported seeing Webb, from Torquay, making the gestures during the game and he was ejected from Cardiff City stadium by staff. He was later notified that he would be charged with a public order offence.

North and East Devon Magistrates’ Court then issued a three-year Football Banning Order on September 1,

PC Christian Evans, from the South Wales Police, said: ‘The overwhelming majority of football fans are well-behaved and respectful to one another.

‘Webb’s inflammatory gesture caused a great deal of distress to many people still grieving the death of Emiliano Sala. Hopefully, this court result sends a clear message that similar behaviour will not be tolerated at matches.’

Webb’s ban will prevent him from going within the Madejski Stadium grounds, approaching the immediate surrounding area or attending any match days.

He is also not allowed to go within Reading Town Centre on any match days, between three hours before kick-off and six hours after kick-off.

The ban also stops him from going within two miles of any stadium or town/city centre where Reading Football Club is playing an away match, for three hours before kick-off and six hours after.

He is also prevented from attending any football matches involving Reading Football Club.

In footage of the match uploaded to Twitter, Webb could be seen with his arms outstretched either side of him as Cardiff fans shouted in his direction. A steward was then seen speaking to him before escorting him out of the stadium.

David Owens, a WalesOnline music correspondent who was at the game, said: ‘I heard a commotion and the home fans were all stood up gesturing towards the away end. I looked at the away end there’s a bloke stood up pointing towards the home fans and appearing to do aeroplane actions.

‘Most of the Ninian Stand stood up shouting at this guy and urged stewards to get involved.’

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