Woman set to become first ever to be banned from attending football games
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A Tranmere Rovers fan is set to become the first women to be banned from attending games.
Abbie-Leigh Reay, 23, was arrested in January this year after throwing an object towards the referee in a 4-0 defeat to Forest Green Rovers.
Reay hurled a flare onto the pitch when Forest Green scored their third goal and it landed near official Lee Swabey and Forest Green goalkeeper Luke McGee.
CCTV cameras picked up the incident and Reay's subsequent reaction of throwing her hands into the air.
She was detained by police outside the ground. However, the arrest did not stop Reay from posting pictures of her and girlfriend Libby Case attending the game at Prenton Park on social media.
The initial caption was, "Before it all went downhill", before she later added, ''Just hope I don't get banned".
The hearing took place at Sefton Magistrates' Court in Merseyside and Reay denied a charge of throwing a missile onto a football playing area under the Football (Offences) Act 1991.
Reay, from Bebington near Birkenhead, represented herself and told the court that she threw the flare in a "panic" after it landed near her.
"We had moved a couple of seats in front of these lads but they rocked down and that's when the flare has come and it was smoking at my feet,'' she explained.
''Joel [brother] was on one side and my partner was on the other side and the first thing I thought was to get it away. I threw it directly onto the football pitch. I then turned around and told the lads to ‘f*** off'. I've been going to Tranmere all my life and I hate things like this.
"I literally had nowhere else to put it. It happened so quickly and the next thing I knew I was getting arrested."
However, Reay's version of events was completed rejected by District Judge James Hatton and she was found guilty of the offence.
"I have looked very carefully at the CCTV," the judge said.
"The flare was not smoking prior to you picking it up. There was no hint of panic in either yourself or in Libby Case when you were caught on CCTV.
"You simply picked it up and threw it towards the referee and the goalkeeper.
"Thereafter you put your arms in what was clearly an act of celebration. There is no other explanation for it. It is extremely clear and I reject your account in its entirety."
The Aldi worker will be sentenced this month and could well be banned from all sports stadiums in the United Kingdom.
Featured Image Credit: Image: Cavendish Press
Topics: Football, League Two