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.
Accrington Stanley FC's Sam Finley has been suspended for eight matches, fined £850 and must attend face-to-face education following a breach of FA Rule E3. Full statement: https://t.co/DLWaDmQogJ. pic.twitter.com/RKB8B49zJt— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) April 21, 2020
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.”
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.
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