Sunday 21 January 2018

Jonjo Shelvey set to claim he was taunted about his alopecia in hearing into alleged racist abuse

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey

Luke Edwards

Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially abusing Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Romain Saiss and is set to claim he was taunted about his alopecia.

Although the Football Associations decided to charge Shelvey last week, there were conflicting claims about what the former Liverpool and Swansea player actually said to Saiss.

The 24-year-old has requested a personal hearing after being informed he was going to be charged following Newcastle’s home defeat to Wolves on September 17th. If found guilty, Shelvey is likely to be hit with a five-match ban and a fine.

It is thought Shelvey will tell an FA panel that he was taunted during the game about his bald head and mocked about alopecia, a condition he has suffered since childhood.

Newcastle released a statement on their website on Wednesday afternoon confirming Shelvey intended to fight the charge and he is expected to play against Leeds United this weekend.

The statement read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Jonjo Shelvey has today pleaded not guilty to an FA charge of misconduct in relation to an alleged incident during our game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, 17 September.

“The player has requested a personal hearing with the FA regarding this matter. The club will be making no further comment until the matter has been concluded.”

The alleged abuse of Saiss was reported to match officials by team-mates immediately after the game, but the FA did not charge Shelvey until last week as they wanted to conduct a thorough investigation.

Last week's FA statement read: “It is alleged that in or around the 87th minute of the fixture, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards an opponent.

“It is further alleged that this breach of Rule E3(1) is an 'Aggravated Breach' as defined in Rule E3(2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality.”

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