Spot on: Mohamed Salah's penalty earns Liverpool a 1-0 win over Fulham
Mohamed Salah is an integral part of Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool | Photo: AFP AFP News

An Everton supporter has been banned from watching football matches in UK stadiums after he was found guilty of shouting racist abuse at Mohamed Salah last year.

Football fan Joel Barwise was caught racially abusing Salah from the stands during the Merseyside derby clash at Anfield on October 21, 2023. The 26-year-old man also taunted Liverpool fans over the Heysel disaster at the 1985 European Cup final between the Reds and Juventus in which 39 people died.

A male steward spotted Barwise shouting racist abuse when the name of Liverpool star Salah was announced in the stadium. The home side went on to beat Everton 2-0, with Salah scoring both goals for the Reds. The Egyptian King converted a penalty in the 75th minute before wrapping up the game with a stoppage time effort.

After the steward reported the incidents, Merseyside Police were informed and identified Barwise from CCTV at the game. The footage showed him committing the offences. Upon being taken in police custody, Barwise denied doing any of those offences. However, when he was shown the footage, he admitted he was responsible.

Everton fan was aware he was committing an offence

The Everton fan then confessed his mistakes at Sefton Magistrates' Court. When he was asked why he shouted racial abuse and mocked the disaster, Barwise replied: "Because I'm an idiot", before adding that he had been stupid and knew that the taunts and chants would be offensive, according to a release on The Crown Prosecution Service's website.

Senior crown prosecutor Angela Conlan, who described Barwise's actions as "disgraceful", said: "Joel Barwise no doubt thinks of himself as a loyal Everton fan but his actions bring shame to his club. He made fun of a tragic football disaster and shouted racist abuse when a key Liverpool player's name was announced."

Hailing from Bentham Drive in Childwall, Liverpool, "Barwise pleaded guilty to racially or religiously aggravated harassment causing alarm or distress by words or writing," the release further read. As a result, the football fan was fined £500 and handed a three-year stadium ban as well. The fine was reportedly increased to emphasise the racial aggravation in the offence.

According to the ban order, Barwise cannot attend any football matches in the UK for three years. When there are international matches scheduled abroad, he must surrender his passport. The guilty Toffees fan cannot go within a mile of any Everton match at home or away or within a mile of Lime Street station, the main intercity station in Liverpool, on match days.

Previous racial abuse towards Salah

Meanwhile, this is not the first time Salah has been on the receiving end of racial abuse. In 2019, the UK police investigated a social media video that allegedly showed Chelsea fans abusing the Liverpool No. 11. The Blues fans appeared to be in a bar where they were chanting "Salah is a bomber". The video began circling in social media just ahead of Chelsea's Europa League game at Slavia Prague.

Reacting to the same, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp condemned the whole episode, asking the authorities to ban those fans from football for life. Klopp had said that the incident was symptomatic of a wider problem that required a stronger reaction from the game's officials.

"It's disgusting. Another example of something which absolutely should not happen. We should not see it as a Chelsea thing or a Liverpool thing. It's another sign that something is going wrong out there at the moment," Klopp said at the time.

In the same year, Salah supposedly faced racial abuse after he missed a crucial penalty during Egypt's World Cup playoff loss to Senegal. Salah and his fellow Egyptian teammates also had lasers shone into their eyes during the match.

A West Ham United fan was banned from football games for three years after admitting to racially abusing Salah. The fan hurled racial abuse at Salah during Liverpool's win over West Ham at London Stadium in January 2020.