Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey handed five-match ban and £100,000 fine after being found guilty of FA racism charge
Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey has been handed a five-match ban and a £100,000 fine after being found guilty by the FA of using abusive and insulting words to an opponent.
Shelvey had pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially abusing Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Romain Saiss but Newcastle confirmed the midfielder has now been given the suspension and fine.
The alleged abuse of Saiss was reported to match officials by team-mates immediately after the game, which took place in September, but the FA did not charge Shelvey until last month as they wanted to conduct a thorough investigation.
After learning of the FA's decision, the club released this statement: "Jonjo Shelvey has been given a five-match suspension and £100,000 fine after an FA misconduct charge against him was found proven.
"Jonjo was charged with using abusive and/or insulting words towards an opponent in the 87th minute of the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, 17th September 2016.
"It was further alleged that this breach of Rule E3(1) was an “Aggravated Breach” as defined in Rule E3(2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality.
"The player, who denied the charge at an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, was also ordered to attend an FA education course.
"The sanction has been set aside pending consideration for an appeal. The player has seven days from receipt of written reasons in which to lodge any appeal.
"The club and the player will await the FA's written reasons before making any further comment on this matter."
England international Shelvey has seven days from the receipt of the commission's written reasons during which to appeal against his punishment with the sanctions set aside in the meantime.
A Newcastle statement said: "The club and the player will await the FA's written reasons before making any further comment on this matter."
However, if Shelvey decides not to challenge the decision or does so and loses, he faces missing a key phase in the Sky Bet Championship leaders' bid for an immediate return to the Premier League.
The charge is understood to surround an incident involving Wolves' Moroccan midfielder Romain Saiss which was reported to match referee Tim Robinson immediately after the game.
However, it was not issued until November 8 as the FA collected evidence with Saiss' limited understanding of English believed to be a complicating factor.
Shelvey strongly refuted the claims and sources on Tyneside had indicated that the Magpies felt they had witnesses to back his denials, although their hopes now appear to have been dashed.
It is only a fortnight since Shelvey and team-mate Paul Dummett both had the red cards they received in Newcastle's controversial 2-1 league defeat at Nottingham Forest rescinded after mounting successful wrongful dismissal claims.
Shelvey, a £12 million signing from Swansea in January, has proved a key figure in Rafael Benitez's team this season and a prolonged ban would rob the Spaniard of one of his most important players as he attempts to extend the club's one-point advantage at the top of the Championship table.