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Accrington’s Sam Finley handed eight-match ban over verbal abuse

Accrington Stanley v Huddersfield Town – Pre-Season Friendly – Wham Stadium
(Image credit: Dave Howarth)

Accrington midfielder Sam Finley has been handed an eight-match ban after admitting verbally abusing Rochdale’s Irish midfielder Paul McShane on the grounds of his nationality.

The punishment, set out by a Football Association Regulatory Commission, also includes an £850 fine plus “face-to-face education”.

The FA had charged Finley with an aggravated breach of rules around using “insulting or abusive language” during a Sky Bet League One game on New Year’s Day.

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The written reasons revealed Republic of Ireland international McShane had reported to the match officials being called “pikey” by Finley.

The Stanley player denied using the word but admitted telling McShane to “f*** off back to your caravan you p***k”.

The report stated that Finley said in his witness statement: “I did make reference that Paul should go back to his caravan and that I was referencing his being Irish in doing so.”

Paul McShane was the subject of abuse

Paul McShane was the subject of verbal abuse relating to his nationality (PA)

Peter Powell, the chairman of the panel, wrote: “Having taken an 11-match ban as a starting point, the commission were of the view that the participant’s initial attitude both at the post-match interview with the referee and subsequently with the FA had been evasive and obstructive persisting in the “p***k” version which made little sense when tied to the admitted “caravan” comment.”

However, the commission took into account the offence was agreed by the FA as being “nationality based only” and that he eventually admitted the charge and spared McShane having to give evidence.

The commission heard Finley had previously been suspended for a similar offence in 2016, when he played for Fylde, after using abusive and/or insulting words, which included references to sexual orientation, towards a referee.