Saturday 21 April 2018

England fan who breached security faces court today

Joe Sinclair in Port Elizabeth

THE England fan who gave the players a tongue lashing over their poor performance after wandering into the team's dressing room is due in court today.

Pavlos Joseph (32), from Crystal Palace, south-east London, has been banned from attending future World Cup matches.

He was released on bail after appearing in court in Cape Town yesterday charged with trespassing.

He said he was looking for a toilet after the game against Algeria when a security guard sent him in the direction of the players' tunnel.

After taking a wrong turn he found himself in the changing room where he says he told David Beckham: "David, we've spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?"

England's poor performance on Friday saw the team draw 0-0 with Algeria at the city's Green Point Stadium.

Joseph was arrested at his hotel yesterday morning.

South African Police Service (SAPS) spokeswoman Brigadier Sally de Beer said he was released on bail.

He is due back in court again today to stand trial.

A spokeswoman for the UK policing team on the ground in South Africa said a football banning order would not be pursued because the incident was not linked to violent behaviour.

Joseph appeared in one of South Africa's special World Cup courts yesterday, which were set up to deal with crimes relating to the tournament. He was arrested at about 10.30am at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay after a police investigation in which officers analysed CCTV footage from the stadium.

The intrusion, which happened minutes after Princes William and Harry left, prompted the Football Association (FA) to make an official complaint to World Cup organisers FIFA.

Police were also looking into why the man, who was hustled away by a FIFA official, was not handed over to officers.

Brigadier de Beer said talks between the SAPS, FIFA and the Local Organising Committee had led to "certain tactical decisions" being made about the deployment of security personnel within the inner perimeter of the stadiums.

She said: "Instructions in this regard have been issued to security personnel in all host cities. This is to prevent an incident of this nature from taking place during the rest of the tournament." Joseph, a life-long England and Manchester United supporter, said: "I looked David straight in the eye and said, 'David, we've spent a lot of money getting here. This is a disgrace. What are you going to do about it?'"

The mortgage adviser said that when Beckham asked him who he was, he said: "I'm Pavlos and I actually need the toilet."

He said he then addressed the players, who were sitting on benches with towels around their waists.


"The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.

"The players' chins were on their chests -- they looked pretty ashamed."

The story is reminiscent of the "Smithy" sketch performed by James Corden, in which the comedian tries to encourage the players.

At an FA reception in Johannesburg yesterday, Beckham played down the incident, saying it had been "blown out of all proportion".

"The actual fan literally just walked in very casually and just said something to me and then walked out -- there was no scuffle, there was no aggression at all."

Irish Independent

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