A MILLION-pound-a-year Premier League footballer caught breaking the speed limit for the third time in three months has been given a driving ban.
Saints striker Tadanari Lee was fined £665 and disqualified from getting behind the wheel for six months after he was caught driving at more than double the speed limit in his luxury car in Southampton city centre.
The 27-year-old Japanese international, nicknamed Chung by his teammates, is thought to be paid £18,000 a week or £936,000 a year and is a popular pin-up in his home country.
Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard how he was clocked by a speed camera travelling at 58mph in his Mercedes-Benz C250 in a 30mph zone in West Quay Road at 8.39am on October 23 last year.
Magistrate John Moore put six points on the footballer’s licence – adding to two sets of three points applied in November 9 and December of last year when he was also caught speeding in 30mph zones.
Lee did not attend the hearing, but pleaded guilty to the charge. Mr Moore reduced his fine from £1,000 for admitting the charge. Lee was also ordered to pay a £66 victim surcharge and £66 in costs.
The footballer arrived at St Mary’s to huge fanfare after signing on a free transfer from Sanfrecce Hiroshima in last year’s January transfer window.
He won the club’s goal of the season for his long-range screamer in last season’s 4-0 drubbing of Derby County, but his career at Saints stalled due to a foot injury.
He was sent on a four-month loan to his former club FC Tokyo in February after only three cup appearances and a single goal for Saints this season.
He has only played 12 times for the first team since joining Saints.
A spokeswoman for the AA which runs Hampshire Driver Awareness Training scheme AA Drive Tech, said: “Speed limits are there for a reason; just going a few miles above the limit has a big impact on your stopping distance and on the survival rates of anyone you hit.
“No one should think they are above obeying speed limits, and persistently breaking them shows a continued disregard for other road users.”