Red Card For Stray British Soccer Fan


Pavlos Joseph

Shout-Africa – A British soccer fan who burst into the England team’s World Cup changing room in Cape Town on Friday night, was banned from attending any further matches when he appeared briefly in the Cape Town World Cup court yesterday.

Pavlos Joseph appeared before magistrate Jahstree Stey, who released him on R500 bail and warned him to return to court on Monday morning when he was to go to trial on two charges.

Joseph, 31, whose address given as 115b Clive Rd, Dulwich, London, is to be charged under the Safety at Sport and Recreational Events Act of 2010, and also under the Fifa World Cup SA special measures act of 2006.

Prosecutor Silvino Pillay told the court that Joseph had already surrendered his passport to the police.

He asked the court to ban Joseph from attending any further World Cup matches until the case had been finalised as one of his bail conditions.

Pillay undertook to furnish defence attorney Stephan Barker, with copies of the police statements on the case, to enable Barker to prepare for Monday’s trial.

Joseph was arrested at 10.30am on Sunday at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay and was charged with trespassing, said police spokeswoman Sally de Beer.

The man walked into the dressing room on Friday night after England’s goal-less draw with Algeria.

“The South African Police Service initiated an investigation into the incident immediately after it was reported to us at a debriefing after the match,” said de Beer.

She said that the fan had exchanged his details with a Fifa official after the incident.

“There was an exchange of business cards.”

Police also studied CCTV footage to “see how he moved through the tunnel” and whether there were any gaps in security.

“Footage was analysed and the suspect was identified and traced to his place of accommodation in Cape Town.”

The security breach triggered a debate about the measures imposed to protect players at the World Cup.

De Beer said additional security personnel, including police, would be deployed inside stadiums.

The Sunday Mirror printed an interview with Joseph – who said he was directed to the changing room when he asked a security guard where he could find a toilet.

He instead entered the team’s dressing room where he berated the players on their performance.

Joseph said he saw Manchester United player David Beckham and a naked England midfielder Joe Cole walking out of the shower.

Asked about what happened to the security guard who misdirected the fan, De Beer said: “Our investigation doesn’t stop here. It forms part of a discussion with Fifa and the Local Organising Committee and we’ll take it from here”.

One commentator said, “security is very lax – i mean, even that Aussie news crew got into soccer city by simply walking through the gate! – lax security should not mean this poor fellow is now penalized – if anything, the security who is guarding that entrance should be standing trial for dereliction of duty !”