Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has been urged to issue a public apology after racially abusing Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder (inset) Romain Saiss (Photo: Flickr)
Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has been urged to issue a public apology after the full extent of the racially abusive language used against Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Romain Saiss was revealed.
On December 20 Sportsmail reported that the 24-year-old England player called the Moroccan a “smelly Arab” during a 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park on September 17.
An Independent Regulatory Commission found Shelvey guilty of racially abusing Saiss last month and he was banned for five matches, fined £100,000 and told to attend an FA education course. The FA have now released details of the private hearing.
— Newcastle Newshound (@ToonFNH) December 23, 2016
Wolves players Dominic Iorfa, Matt Doherty and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson all gave evidence against Shelvey. In it, they insist they heard Shelvey call Saiss “a smelly Arab c**t” and “a Moroccan pr**k”.
Shelvey insisted he had only ever said: “smelly breathed pr**k” and that he was reacting to being called a “bald c**t” having suffered from alopecia since childhood. Shelvey has decided not to appeal against the verdict but said he is “disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of the hearing”.
However, the Anti-racism charity Kick It Out has called on Shelvey to apologise. In a statement to The Muslim News Kick It Out said: “To bring closure to this incident so all parties can move on and to send out the right message, we hope both Newcastle United and Shelvey issue a public apology to the player concerned and his club, so that everyone can look forward to the remainder of the season.
“One such instance of discrimination involving players in the professional game is too many and shows there’s still work to do in tackling discrimination in football.
“We hope the FA’s education course benefits the player and teaches him about what is and isn’t acceptable language to use.”
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that Shelvey had goaded Iorfa over the amount of money he earns, a practice in football known as “cashing someone off”. Shelvey accepted he had called Iorfa a “peasant” a number of times but says it was in response to being called a “f***ing pr**k”.
Newcastle Manager Rafa Benitez says the club stands by their player. “We support him because for me it was a very confused [sic] situation,” he said.
“The main thing is he knows that he has to be careful in the future and just concentrate on his football. Strange things happen on the pitch and everyone is referring to this issue but we continue to support him – we don’t support him in the way [of the alleged language] but that he was making a mistake. But what people say he said, maybe he didn’t say, so it is very confused [sic]. What we have to do is move on and start thinking about the future.”