Cypriot Tottenham Fan Banned by Court for Throwing Banana Skin

FILE - Fans wave flags ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, May 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AP) — A Tottenham fan has been banned from soccer games for four years for throwing a banana skin at an Arsenal player who is black.

Averof Panteli, of Greek Cypriot heritage, was found guilty of a “targeted gesture” aimed at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a “racial element.”

Aubameyang was celebrating scoring a goal in front of visiting Tottenham fans at Emirates Stadium on Dec. 2.

Panteli, who lives in Norwich, got a 4-year ban and was ordered to pay 635 pounds ($800) in fines and court costs. He pleaded guilty to throwing a missile but denied racist intent.

Tottenham imposed a lifetime ban on Panteli.

The incident renewed a debate about racism in English soccer.