Leeds United fan to miss Brazil World Cup for throwing smoke bomb

Paul James King.
Paul James King.

A football fan who threw a smoke bomb onto a pitch during a league match has been banned from travelling to the World Cup in Brazil.

Leeds United fan Paul James King, 25, lobbed a smoke grenade towards the playing surface at Wigan Athletic last month.

Wakefield magistrates heard yesterday the Championship game was about six minutes old when a missile was thrown from the north stand at the DW Stadium.

Prosecutor Diane Gomersall said it was one of two smoke bombs thrown during the game on April 5.

King, of Pawson Street, East Ardsley, was identified along with another man of throwing a bomb.

Michael Walsh, defending King, said: “His words when he was arrested are telling.

“His words were, ‘I’m not going to deny it. I know what I’ve done. I’ve been an idiot and I’m sorry.”

King admitted throwing a smoke bomb at or towards the playing surface. He also admitted failing to surrender to bail in Wigan by being late for court.

Magistrates in Wakefield heard how King had seen another Leeds fan in the pub before the match who had some smoke bombs. King offered to buy one but was given it instead.

Mr Walsh said there was no suggestion the smoke bomb caused any disruption.

The solicitor said King had been a Leeds fan for 15 years and also followed England. He planned to travel to Brazil next month to support them in the World Cup.

Mr Walsh said his client’s greatest concern was a lengthy football banning order, preventing him from attending designated games.

He said King had attended up to 600 games without any incident.

But the bench of three magistrates issued a three-year banning football order for England and Wales. They said King would also have to surrender his passport for “certain matches being played outside England and Wales”.

He was also fined £110 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.