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Gillingham charged by the FA and reveal threat of points deductions over fan trouble

Gillingham have been charged by the FA and reveal threat of points deductions over fan trouble at matches in the 2022/23 season.

The Gills have been fined by the Football Association over “vile abuse” and language “at the worst end of the spectrum”, meaning they now have to pay out £12,500 after admitting misconduct in relation to three separate crowd control incidents.

This took place over the space of two months, including racist and sexist abuse, with the League Two club making yet another warning to its supporters.


As shared in May, Gillingham Football Club was charged by the Football Association with failure to ensure that its spectators conducted themselves in an orderly manner.

The club was found guilty of failing to control the use of discriminatory language that was racist as well as sexist. The incidents took place at home against Colchester United FC on 26 December 2022, away against Sutton United FC on 29 December 2022, and at home against AFC Wimbledon on 25 February 2023, all EFL League Two 2022/23 fixtures.

Pursuant to breaches of Football Association Rule E21.4, the club has received a monetary fine of £12,500. Additionally, the club was presented with an Action Plan to help support its efforts to prevent any recurrence of misconduct. The Football Association’s full findings and decision was published today.

We take these findings from the FA seriously. Chanting of this nature is unacceptable. Furthermore, there is no place for any manner of discriminatory, offensive, or abusive behaviour or language of any kind inside our ground.

It is the intention of Gillingham FC to further develop our existing anti-discriminatory initiatives to be more proactive in our approach to abuse. We will continue to reinforce our zero-tolerance policy via all messaging avenues available to us, including our website, social media platforms, Club Charter, Club Fan Guide, announcements, LED boards, and posters. We also commit to timely and thorough investigation of such matters, as well as the introduction of a Club Sanctions Policy.

Chairman Brad Galinson said: “Since we purchased the club, we have spent a significant amount of money and resources on improving all areas of the club—from investing in the First Team playing squad to building a new shop, installing pitchside LED screens, and upgrading facilities to improve the matchday experience.

“We are happy to do so, but what is frustrating is this wasted spend. It’s money leaving the club without any return that benefits it.”

We invite our family of supporters to join us in preventing discrimination and abuse at Priestfield. If we are charged in the future and found guilty, the FA and the Commission have made it clear that the penalties for our club will be severe and will include even larger fines and/or points deductions.

According to KentOnline, the game against Colchester, played at Priestfield on Boxing Day, 2022, saw a visiting player report an incident to the referee, claiming he had “heard the chant, ‘you b**** b*****’ twice” from behind the goal with a video catching one abuser saying offensive words as well as “chants” of “you b**** b******”, before a police officer went over to the Rainham End to monitor where the trouble had been coming from.

PC Greensmith said a Colchester player also heard a comment “you b**** s***,” when submitting two crime reports.

After that game, Colchester’s Junior Tchamadeu said: “There were two incidents that happened, both in the first half.

“One was at John (Akinde) and then when I scored. There’s no room for it in the game.”

Another incident three days after that saw Gillingham. play at Sutton, with chants of “w*** him off” aimed at a female physio, coming from the Gills fans as she went to an injured Sutton player.

An announcement was made over the tannoy, telling fans to stop with the discriminatory language, with the physio subsequently reporting to the referee that spectators had chanted “get your **** out for the lads” in the game. One fans was kicked out by half time, though police didn’t take personal details, having had the individual handed over to them by stewards.

The third incident, in the game at home to AFC Wimbledon on the 25th of February 2023, saw another chant of “get your **** out for the lads” towards a female physio, also heard by the referee and the away side’s staff members in the technical area.

Gary Newman, who is the Gillingham head of stadium operations, said that the incidents had been looked into, with ‘interviews in and around the area and a detailed review of CCTV footage was undertaken with guidance sought from Kent Police’ but they couldn’t identify the perpetrators.

The Gills add that there had been “five or six” people who chanted in the matches against Colchester and Wimbledon, with a total amount of arrests for the 2022/23 season at 17 for within Priestfield along, while there were 19 ejections issued.

Paul Scally said “the club was dealing with a tough section of its fanbase. It needed to set up educational programmes that made clear what was right and what was wrong.”

While the Commission stated that “the racist abuse hurled and chanted during the Colchester match was vile.

“The sexist abuse levelled at the female physiotherapist during the Sutton match is as bad as the Commission has seen and the chanting that took place at that match was repeated during the Wimbledon match.

“Whilst the physiotherapist at the Wimbledon match was not aware of the chanting, the same cannot be said of the Colchester player and the Sutton physiotherapist. It is almost impossible to imagine the extreme hurt that must have been felt by each of those persons.

“No less than eight weeks separated the Sutton and Wimbledon matches and yet the commission saw no signs of specific action having been taken by the club.

“There were no specific references to those events in the following match programme, despite the assurance given by the club to the FA that the incident in question would be put in the match programme, and there does not appear to have been any concerted effort to find witnesses.

“If, as appears to have been the case, the CCTV had been demonstrated by the Colchester game as unfit for purpose, urgent steps should have been taken after that match to improve the CCTV coverage. The Commission does not accept that part of the Club’s mitigation which asserted that it is more difficult to focus on a small group.

“The opposite is assuredly the case, provided CCTV coverage is of the requisite quality and standard. Indeed, the fact that a large percentage of the GFC supporters occupy the Rainham End terrace leads to the obvious conclusion that enhanced CCTV coverage should be installed to cover that area.”

The club put in undercover stewards at the Rainham End of the ground, after they got a report of racism was made during the game against Colchester.

However, none of those stewards appeared to have heard the second lot of abuse aimed at the Colchester player and recorded in the police crime report.

The commission have put in place an action plan for the club, and are to monitor the situation, while warning Gillingham over their future conduct.

Twitter users gave their reaction with Gillingham charged by the FA and reveal a threat of points deductions over fan trouble…

@LauraP_71: I can think of a lot better things to spend £12,500 on for a few people not keeping their mouths shut. I hope they don’t complain when we say we can’t afford something. The club hasn’t got a magic money tree.

@PrivateRanter: Matchday Marshalls need to be more active, not wait for someone to put themselves at risk of abuse by complaining. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the last fine the club receives. Too many hard core fans who don’t see this sort of language as a problem.

@Sparkyisared: The club needs to do more to weed these supporters out as they should not be welcome.

@basiokas: Straight up embarrassing. Don’t wanna be “one of those clubs”

@Paul_Beaney: Really disappointing that we have to waste £12.5k for a very tiny minority spouting hate. Hopefully we will not see any reoccurrence and this will be the last time people attending matches (not fans) cost the club.

@NateReddin: It’s a shame certain matchgoers have to ruin it for everybody else

@Loonpotter: Well done you absolute morons.. Just as we start getting a good thing going you idiots either can’t handle your drink or you really are stupid and pig ignorant… Drag them to the street and let the door hit them on the way out.

@TRIBOYLUKE: Really bad. This money could have gone to something great to help make the fan experience better but instead we are wasting it due to our fans acting like idiots. Please just think before you speak as it is affecting our club.

@agbailey1: What a waste for some idiots! Don’t give them access to the self-service beer pumps

@neil_last: My sympathies lie with @BradGalinson & @ShannonGalinson… so sorry that a couple of brain dead morons have cost you…🙏

@chelhumphreys: The action taken here 👏🏼👏🏼 no room for it in football 🤦🏽‍♀️

@JJamesonRickard: How do some people not understand this? The amount of times the club has shared it and they still ignore it. Football is for EVERYONE. Regardless of colour. Regardless of gender. Regardless of nationality. Yes the “heat of the moment” happens, but you can still control yourself

@mike_gammon: Some people need to simply stay away if they can’t keep their appalling 70s behaviour in check. No place for racism or sexism #Gills

@John_GR63: Good to see action has been taken and I hope the recent incident against #ColU is also looked at. Starting to become a frequent problem at gillingham which I hope is sorted soon

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