West Brom fan Simon Silwood has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison for racially abusing midfielder Romaine Sawyers on social media.
The 51-year-old was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates' Court after he was found guilty of malicious communication in early September.
It is understood to be the first time someone will serve a prison sentence in Britain for the online racial abuse of a footballer.
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Silwood sent racist abuse to Sawyers via social media following West Brom´s 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in January.
During sentencing, Judge Briony Clarke said: "This is, Mr Silwood, a serious offence. There is no place for racism or racist abuse online. This clearly, in my view, crosses the custody threshold."
Silwood has also been ordered to pay £500 in compensation to Sawyers and the same amount in prosecution costs. He has been banned from West Brom games for life.
Mark Johnson of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "In the 21st Century, it should be incomprehensible how a so-called football fan can abuse a player based on race, let alone a player on the team he purports to support.
"Silwood deliberately chose a word known to have clear racist connotations to abuse a footballer due to the colour of his skin. Such behaviour will not be tolerated in football and will be prosecuted by the CPS. As this is a hate crime, we will apply for a harsher sentence to reflect that.
"I would like to thank the witness for bringing Silwood's post to the attention of West Bromwich Albion which then reported it to the West Midlands police."
Sawyers, who is currently on loan at Stoke, says he hopes the sentence will be a "deterrent to others".
"I welcome the custodial sentence today issued to Simon Silwood and I am now focused on putting this incident behind me.
"Racial abuse towards anyone, in any circumstance, is totally unacceptable, and I hope this case will serve as a deterrent to others.
"This is an incident that has affected me deeply, but I would like to encourage fellow players to report all racial abuse to the police. We must together stand strong in order to rid the game, and wider society, of this hideous behaviour."
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