LONDON (AP) — Tottenham defender Eric Dier was given a four-match ban on Wednesday for climbing into the stands to confront a fan after his team's loss in the FA Cup in March.
After Tottenham lost a penalty shootout to Norwich, the England international made his way to an area of the field in front of the stand where his younger brother, Patrick, and family sit. Dier was verbally abused by a spectator, then entered the stand and clambered over rows of seats after seeing his brother in a tussle with the same spectator.
There was no physical exchange and the matter was not pursued by the Metropolitan Police after a brief investigation.
The spectator said in a statement that he was “being an idiot," was frustrated and annoyed with the result of the match, and had not felt threatened by Dier, an independent panel was told.
However, the panel found Dier's actions to be "threatening." As well as the ban, he was fined 40,000 pounds ($50,000) and warned about his future conduct.
Dier said he confronted the spectator because he thought his brother was in trouble.
“All that was going through my mind was that I must protect Patrick,” he said. "In hindsight I feel even more responsible for his safety. He had gone to the game to support me, and he had become upset by the personal abuse being yelled at me, and that had led him into this situation.
“All I wanted,” Dier added, “was to be reunited with Patrick and remove him from the situation.”
Dier will miss four of Tottenham's remaining five league matches as the team tries to qualify for European competition. The team is in eighth place.
Dier has regained his place in the team since the restart of the league following its three-month suspension because of the coronavirus outbreak. He has been playing at center back, having been deployed in midfield by Tottenham in recent years.
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