The fan who threw a banana skin onto the pitch during last weekend's North London derby will appear in court later this month and faces a ban from future matches.
Derby matches around the world are often very heated affairs. Celtic versus Rangers, Fenerbache versus Galatasaray, those and so many others where the fans go crazy and the form book goes out the window. In the Premier League, one of the most entertaining derbies takes place in North London twice a year between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The latest meeting between the fierce rivals, which took place this past Sunday, was no different. The game ended 4-2 to Arsenal in what was an end to end affair. As is almost always the case with a derby match like this, it didn't take long for tempers to flair either. Eric Dier's equalizer, which came 30 minutes into the match, resulted in players clashing and having to be pulled apart.
Unfortunately, even earlier into the match than Dier's goal, something happened that has taken the attention away from how good a game we witnessed between the two sides. Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put The Gunners 1-0 up from the penalty spot. While celebrating the goal, a Spurs fan threw a banana skin at Aubameyang from the away end.
Since Aubameyang is of Gabonese heritage, the incident is being treated as a racially charged one. According to BBC Sport, the fan who threw the item along with three others have been arrested and will appear in court later this month. A spokesman from Tottenham has also stated that the fan in question will be issued with a ban from future Spurs games. How long that ban will last has not been revealed.
Despite the ongoing work of soccer's Kick It Out campaign whose goal is to completely eliminate racism from the sport, the organization revealed that incidents like this one are sadly on the rise. There really is no place for it in soccer, sport, or society in general. Hopefully, the punishment issued to the fan responsible will be severe enough that it stops incidents similar to this one happening in the future.