Father and son Clarets deny homophobic and racist abuse at Brighton game

A father and son duo of Burnley fans accused of hurling abuse during a Premier League football match are to stand trial.

Friday, 15th March 2019, 8:14 am
Updated Friday, 15th March 2019, 9:48 am
Brighton and Hove Albion's Amex Stadium

Stewart and Nathan Higgins both deny making homophobic remarks during the club's 3-1 victory against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex stadium in the East Sussex city on February 9th.

Nathan Higgins, an 18-year-old student, also denies shouting racial abuse during the game.

The pair, who both live in Talbot Drive, Burnley, pleaded not guilty to using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress when they appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Higgins junior, as he was referred to in court, also pleaded not guilty to using racially aggravated threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

His engineer father stood next to him in the dock as they spoke only to confirm their identities, each describing their nationality as English, before entering their pleas during the brief hearing.

They were both granted unconditional bail until their trial on May 13th at the same court.

Police previously said two away fans were ejected from the match and arrested after club stewards responded to reports of abuse.

During the game, Brighton defender Gaetan Bong was said to have been subjected to boos from opposition fans after last season's racism row with Burnley-born West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez.

In January 2018, Bong accused former Clarets striker Rodriguez of making a racist comment, an allegation which was "not proven" following an investigation by the Football Association.