After throwing a flare onto the field as she watched her team being destroyed at home, a female football fan became the first woman in Britain to be barred from all “controlled” soccer events.
Following Tranmere Rovers’ 3-0 defeat to Forest Green Rovers in a crucial League Two match, Abbie-Leigh Reay, 23, was detained when she seized the rocket and tossed it at the referee.
Reay raised her arms in the air and began “dancing” when the flare fell on the field close to the officials, Lee Swabey and Luke McGee of Forest Green.
The Aldi employee was subsequently detained by police as she was leaving Tranmere’s Prenton Park stadium after the team’s 4-0 defeat in the top-of-the-table match.
Reay shared smiling photos of herself at the game with her partner and family, along with a laughing emoji and the caption: “Before it all went south.” This was in spite of being arrested.
Just hoping I don’t get banned, she said in one of her remarks.
Reay, of Bebington near Birkenhead, was given a football banning order at Sefton magistrates court in Merseyside after being found guilty of throwing a missile onto a football field in violation of the Football (Offenses) Act of 1991. The order prevents Reay from attending regulated games for three years.
She was also hit with a £250 fine and a £654 cost mandate.
She may not be able to witness her 14-year-old brother participate in league games due to the restriction.
If Reay’s sister was participating in a “unregulated” game, District Judge Paul Healey instructed her to first check with the police. He also said, “I have based my judgement on the evidence that you did fire the flare and on the grounds that it was a purposeful act to throw it on the field.”
“The fact that it happened during a football game makes it more serious.” I’ve seen the video; you’re in the first row of the seating area, and the stadium is packed. There are a lot of individuals around you right now. You jeopardize the safety of others on the field by tossing the flare there.
No one was hurt, but there was a danger and because of your behavior, stewards and police had to step in. The big throng made things tough for the stewards and the cops.
They need to do something. There is a chance that it will become worse. Disorder during football games has been a persistent problem for many years.
When someone is found guilty of a violation of the Football Offenses Act, Judge Healey said, “It must be determined if it is necessary to issue a football banning order.
“I have watched the video, heard what the prosecution has to say, and heard what you have to say.
“I realize that you entered a plea of not guilty and that you naturally tossed it on the field as a precaution, but it was disproved at trial.”
“Before you tossed it into the field, I saw no evidence of a smoke trail, and then there was your behavior thereafter.
“You have never been convicted before, and there is no proof that you are connected to any other disruption at football games, but I do think that someone who acts in this manner offers a severe danger to players, stewards, and fans.”
“An injunction is required to preclude any possibility of this occurring again at all.”
When Forest Green increased their advantage after the break on January 29 of this year, various objects could be seen being thrown onto the field close to McGee at the Kop end of the stadium.
Stewards eventually rushed the crowd in an effort to catch the missile thrower, but Reay was shown leaning down and tossing the flare into the field.
When the rocket fell close to where the referee was speaking to the goalie, she suddenly raised her arms as if in triumph. Police stopped her as she left the property, and she was subsequently questioned at her house.
It was a brazen and intentional crime, according to prosecutor Callum Bryce, since she looked to be dancing after tossing the flare and ran the danger of seriously hurting other people.
She said that someone had thrown the flare and that it had fallen at her feet, Mr. Bryce said, adding that there were contradictions in her testimony and those of other witnesses.
‘No matter how well your aim, you could still strike someone. Someone might be hurt if the flare hits them in the eye.
Reay, a lifetime Tranmere Rovers supporter and former season ticket holder, spoke for herself and proceeded to justify her conduct, insisting that she was innocent.
She claimed to be aware that she would get a football ban but pleaded with the judge to let her continue to see her 14-year-old brother play.
To be quite honest, she said, “I didn’t rejoice; I was simply trying to get it away.” I just did what I thought would benefit everyone around me. What else could I do with thousands of people around me? I scooped it up from the floor where it was smoldering, flung it, and then turned around.
However, it seems that I was jubilant when we were defeated 4-0. As I already said, I did not bring it.
I’ve heard about the banning orders, she said. I am certain that I will get one. I wanted to see my younger brother play football, so I asked if I could. He is 14.’
According to the order, Reay is not permitted to travel within 250 yards of Prenton Park’s football stadium four hours before kickoff and four hours after the game’s conclusion on match days, or to travel to any town or city where Tranmere Rovers are playing from midnight to midnight before and after the game.
Additionally, she is not permitted to go within one mile of any England match from five hours before or five hours after the match, or to travel within 250 yards of any other regulated football event in the UK between four hours before kickoff and four hours after the conclusion of the game.
The Football Spectators (Prescription) Order 2022 specifies that only teams from The Football League, The FA Premier League, The FA Women’s Super League, The FA’s Women’s Championship, The Football Conference, The Cymru Premier League, or The Scottish Professional Football League may participate in regulated soccer matches.