When Manchester United's Nani was sent off in the 56th minute of Tuesday's Champions League round of 16 second leg against Real Madrid, the home fans were outraged. The sending off for a boot to Alvaro Arbeloa's belly was soon followed by two goals from Real Madrid, which was enough to give them a lead they would not lose. So, an 18-year-old Man United fan watching at home decided to call emergency services to report the dismissal as a "crime" for police to investigate.
From the PA:
18-year-old United fan, who watched the Champions League match on TV, was so disgusted by the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir's decision to send off the United forward Nani that he contacted emergency operators to claim a "crime" had occurred. The armchair fan, who has not been named, rang 999 at around 9.20pm on Tuesday night from his home in a village near Bingham, Nottinghamshire.
The fan later apologized and claimed "to have been caught up in the excitement." The Nottinghamshire Police were still quite annoyed by the incident, though. From their site:
There were 6,933 recorded hoax calls to Nottinghamshire Police in 2012, with calls increasing during holiday periods, and especially in August. This amounted to around 2% of all reported incidents.
Control Room Chief Inspector Ted Antill said: “While this recent example may be amusing, it illustrates the sort of insincere calls we have to deal with on a daily basis in the Control Room.
“They waste our time and they direct us away from genuine victims of crime, particularly if we dispatch officers out to something that turns out to be a bogus report.
“I would ask people to think before picking up the phone for emergency services. I would also advise parents to ensure your children are aware that prank calls and the reporting of made-up crimes is a crime in itself.
“There may be people out there in real trouble who need our help and they have to wait because we are tied up with calls like this one, reporting a referee from the television.
“It’s no joke. In this case, the man realised his bad judgement and apologised and we decided not to pursue it further. But we can and we do prosecute people for wasting police time and making false reports.”
Sadly, this isn't the first time a fan has decided that football partisanship is good reason to report something they see on a screen to the police. Chelsea captain John Terry was brought up on criminal charges after a single QPR fan who happened to be an off duty police officer made a complaint based on silent YouTube footage that Terry had racially abused Anton Ferdinand during a match the day before. Terry was eventually found not guilty by the court.
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