34-year-old Mark Hargreaves was fined this week and banned from soccer matches after he admitted that he had run naked onto a soccer pitch in Burnley, Scotland, and proceeded to breakdance naked in front of thousands of fans and millions of television viewers. He pleaded guilty to “pitch encroachment,” which I am pleased to know is evidently a separately defined crime in the UK.
This is similar to, but more naked than, last year’s Super Bowl incident in which a thong-clad British man ran onto the field as the second half was about to commence, and proceeded to “Riverdance” until he was clobbered by a Patriots linebacker. (I think the symbolism there is obvious. Where’s your empire now, Thong Boy?)
At the hearing on Wednesday, the prosecutor told magistrates that Hargreaves admitted he had done it “for a laugh” because the game was on live television. He also did it despite the fact that he had been invited to the game by his girlfriend’s boss.
Surprisingly, said girlfriend does not appear to have been amused by the incident, which Hargreaves’ defense attorney noted when seeking mitigation of the sentence: “Since the incident on Sunday his girlfriend has given him the equivalent of a red card [evidently something bad in soccer] and has terminated their relationship.” Nor did Hargreaves’ own boss find it funny, the attorney continued. “[My client] has also lost his job and has been made redundant,” he said redundantly. “Although there is no evidence to suggest that this was related to Sunday’s incident, it does seem to be an unfortunate coincidence.”
Hargreaves was fined 200 pounds and banned from soccer matches for three years.