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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 15:41 GMT
Footballer jailed for Cardiff violence
Dai Thomas in action for Cardiff City
Thomas was captured on police video
Former Cardiff City and Wales Under-21 footballer Dai Thomas has been jailed for 60 days and banned from football grounds in Wales and England.

Cardiff Magistrates Court sentenced the 26-year-old for his part in the violent clashes which marred Cardiff City's FA Cup victory over the then Premiership leaders Leeds United at Ninian Park last month.

Sam Hammam
Sam Hammam has waged a war on hooliganism

The ugly scenes overshadowed one of Cardiff's most memorable victories in recent years, and led to club owner Sam Hammam waging a war on football hooliganism.

Thomas from Caerphilly, south Wales, was captured on police video during the pitch invasion at the end of the third round tie throwing a hoarding towards rival Leeds fans.

As well as representing his country at under-21 level Thomas also played for Swansea City.

He moved to Watford in 1997 for a fee of 100,000,later moving to Cardiff in 1998 for 50,000.

He played 36 times and scored seven goals for the Bluebirds.

Since then the one-time rising star's football career has been confined to playing with non-league clubs in south Wales.

Fan pitch invasion at Cardiff
Police were forced to deal with a pitch invasion

Last month Thomas pleaded guilty before Cardiff magistrates to one count of threatening and violent behaviour under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

Prosecuting. Mike Evans said Thomas was at the front of a large crowd of fans who surged onto the pitch after Cardiff 's 2-1 win over Leeds on 6 January.

"He was part of that large group, numbering hundreds, " said Mr Evans.

"Police officers came under attack from missiles, advertising hoardings and they were also spat on."

There was a very hostile environment at the game with some officers describing it as the "most frightening experience" of their careers, said Mr Evans.

Two other Cardiff City fans were also jailed on Wednesday.

Thirty-four-year-old Colin Cody from Cardiff was sentenced to 75 days and Matthew Dean, 22, also from Cardiff, to 14 days.

Both were also banned from football grounds for six years.

BBC Wales's Rhodri Lewis
"Dai Thomas arrived at court facing the prospect of going to jail"
See also:

11 Jan 02 | FA Cup
Hammam touchline walks banned
07 Jan 02 | Wales
Leeds fan set for legal action
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