LONDON • A man has been identified and jailed over hate crime directed at Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling.
Karl Anderson, 29, appeared at Manchester and Salford Magistrates' Court yesterday and pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault in which he kicked Sterling in the leg on Saturday.
He has been sentenced to 16 weeks in jail and will have to pay compensation costs of £100 (S$180).
The court also heard that Anderson already has 25 convictions for 37 offences, including football-related violence, according to the BBC.
In a victim impact statement read out to the court, Sterling said, as quoted by the BBC, that he "did not think this kind of behaviour happened in this country in this day and age".
"He (Anderson) apologises to Raheem Sterling for his actions," John Black, Anderson's lawyer, said.
Greater Manchester Police said that Anderson was remanded in custody prior to him appearing in court.
"Racism will not be tolerated in greater Manchester and has no place in civilised society," Detective Chief Inspector Paul Walker said in an earlier statement on Tuesday.
"We take every report incredibly seriously."
The incident happened before City's 4-1 Premier League defeat of Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported that Sterling was kicked and racially abused as he arrived at City's Etihad Campus on Saturday morning before their match.
The report said a man appeared to be waiting for the 23-year-old England international as he arrived at the training ground.
Sterling got out of his car to ask what the problem was but was then kicked in the leg four times.
In court, Black explained that Anderson had wanted an autograph, but there was "an exchange of words" which led to him losing his temper.
Sterling was, however, not injured during the attack and went on to score twice as City recorded their 16th consecutive league win. He is City's top scorer in the league this season with 11 goals.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE