Spurs fan who threw banana on to pitch in north London derby will not face racist offence charges

TOTTENHAM Hotspurs fan Averof Panteli who threw a banana on to the pitch last weekend at the Emirates Stadium when his team lost the north London derby to Arsenal will not be charged with a racist offence according to the police.


Mr Panteli, 57, a Greek Cypriot grandfather, threw the banana skin onto the pitch after Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrated scoring a penalty in front of Spurs fans. He will now face a charge of throwing a missile after the police judged it not to be a racially aggravated offence.


Contrite for his actions, Mr Panteli, who says he will plead guilty to the charge when he is in court on December 18, has also been informed by Tottenham he will be banned from their games for life. He had a previous brush with the authorities when he ran onto the Spurs pitch aged 14 and was ejected from the stadium.


Mr Panteli said: “The police were happy to say it was not racism, so I phoned Tottenham to apologise and they said they would be getting in touch with me to ban me for life. I am actually a Greek Cypriot, I am 100% not a racist and I swear on my kids’ lives that I am not that kind of guy.


“The Arsenal player was gloating in front of the away fans as he came up towards us about 10 metres away and he was basically nodding his head and clapping at us. Without thinking, I picked up this banana skin from the ground and threw it on the edge of the pitch.


 “I didn’t throw it at the players, it was just on the edge of the pitch. “I am not condoning what I did and I regret it already.”


Aubameyang spot-kick gave Arsenal an early lead and the Gunners eventually ran out 4-2 winners in the match. Following the victory, Arsenal overtook Spurs in the Premier league table, sitting in fourth place while their rivals are placed fifth.