Footballer Colin Kazim-Richards Found Guilty Over Homophobic Gesture

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(CNN) -- An international football player has been found guilty of making a homophobic gesture during a league game by an English court.

Colin Kazim-Richards, who represented Turkey at the 2008 European Championship finals, was convicted following the incident while he was playing for English second division team Blackburn, the UK Press Association reported on Wednesday.

It took place during a Championship game away to Brighton on February 12, 2013.

The 27-year-old, who now lives in Turkey and plays for Bursaspor, heard prosecutor Simon Allen contend that he had mimicked pulling down his shorts, putting his left arm behind his backside before making a homophobic gesture at Brighton fans.

He was fined £750 ($1,256), ordered to pay £620 ($1,039) court costs and a £75 ($125.60) victim surcharge, PA reported.

Brighton, a city on the south coast of England around 50 miles from London, has a large gay population and its players and supporters have often been subjected to homophobic abuse.

On Tuesday, Sussex Police reported that three people were arrested for homophobic chanting during Brighton's game at Leicester.

Kazim-Richards, who had previously played for Brighton between 2005-2006, made the gesture after being taunted by home supporters who claimed he was overweight.

Darren Hastings, a witness in the trial, said he noticed Kazim-Richards make the gesture four or five times during the match.

"It was utterly disgusting," Hastings told the court, PA reported.

"I understand that football players receive a number of gestures or comments from the crowd but I certainly did not expect to see a football player perform that gesture on the pitch."

A second witness, Daryl Cannon, who was at the stadium working at the game on the day, also voiced his disgust at the gesture, PA reported.

He was particularly surprised given Kazim-Richards' work with Kick it Out -- an anti-discriminatory body which aims to eradicate racism and homophobia within football.

"I perceived it as a very wrong thing to do, particularly for someone who's involved with the Kick It Out Campaign," Cannon told the court.

"Racism and homophobia are on the same level."


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