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Player Who Abused Harry Arter Given Huge Suspension From Football

Player Who Abused Harry Arter Given Huge Suspension From Football
By Gavan Casey Updated

Less than a month after apologising for vile tweets directed at Ireland international Harry Arter, non-league footballer Alfie Baker has been suspended for seven months.

The 19-year-old former Codicote and Hitchin player admitted an FA charge at a hearing on Tuesday, and is now banned from all football until August 1st. He was also fined £250.

During Bournemouth and Arsenal's 3-3 draw in December, in which Bournemouth had led 3-0, Barker tweeted: "Big hype just for a disappointment like the nine months leading up to your child's birth."

Arter and his partner Rachel's baby daughter Renee was stillborn in December 2015, and Barker's tweet was condemned by fans and clubs alike, with Bournemouth reporting the slur to the FA.

Barker's ban is the fourth-longest dished out in FA history, after Eric Cantona (9 months after his king-fu kick), Mark Bosnich (9 months after testing positive for cocaine), and Rio Ferdinand (8 months after missing a drugs test).

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live last month, the player himself has elaborated on the incident, expressing deep sorrow for his remarks:

I was watching Arsenal at home and I was hyper. At 3-0 down they weren't playing well and I was annoyed.

I'd had a couple of beers and was frustrated at the way the team was playing and I just lashed out. I have no idea why I focused on Harry Arter and his family and I am so, so sorry for what I have done.

It was a moment of madness. It's the worst thing I've ever done in my life, but it is so out of character. I honestly don't know why I did it.

I also completely understand why Hitchin Town took the action they did and I completely agree they did the right thing.

Barker takes medication to combat the symptoms of ADHD and a mild form of autism, and had previously told Stevenage-based newspaper The Comet that he was "distraught" that his comments had upset Arter. In that interview, Barker revealed that his aunt had suffered two miscarriages in the last five years.

Prior to his ban, Barker indicated that he would accept any punishment handed down to him by the FA.

[BBC]

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