A Manchester City supporter has been banned from matches for three years after he hurled a flare onto the pitch following last season's title decider at the Etihad Stadium.
Oliver Halliwell let off the flare towards the end of City's final game of the Premier League season against Aston Villa on May 22, which they won 3-2 to be crowned champions. The 20-year-old told police "the euphoria got the better of him" after City scored their third goal, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
CCTV footage captured Halliwell letting off the smoke flare in the stadium's South Stand. He then held it aloft before throwing it over the heads of supporters, stewards and onto the field.
When arrested, Halliwell - described by the CPS as a 'lifelong Manchester City fan' - told officers he had brought three flares with him that day. He claimed to have used two before entering the ground but brought a third inside.
However, he claimed he had no intention of using the flare until Ilkay Gundogan fired City into a 3-2 lead to complete a remarkable comeback. At Manchester Magistrates Court today (October 5), Halliwell, of Higher Dunscar, Egerton, Bolton, was handed a three-year football banning order.
He pleaded guilty to charges of throwing a missile onto a football playing area, possession of a flare at a sporting event and possession of a flare when entering a sporting event and was also fined £555, as well as £85 costs and a £35 victim surcharge.
Following the hearing, Kerry Grieve, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: ”The CPS are committed to taking a robust stance towards those who take part in football related disorder and we continue to play a crucial role in making sports such as football safe for the players and for the vast majority of supporters who want to attend and enjoy sport in a safe environment.”
Douglas Mackay, CPS Sports Lead Prosecutor and Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for West Midlands said: "Over recent years and months there has been a significant rise in football-related criminality compared to pre-pandemic levels. At the CPS, we play a crucial role in tackling these crimes and making our national sport inclusive, safe to watch and play in. There is no place for violent criminal acts in football, and incidents such as these has a significant impact on victims."