Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey has been cleared of making an alleged racist gesture during a club meal, the Football Association has announced.
Hennessey, 32, denied making the gesture in a picture posted on Instagram by his German team-mate Max Meyer as the players celebrated their FA Cup win against Grimsby in January.
The Wales goalkeeper had requested a personal hearing, after which the FA said a breach of the disciplinary rules had been “found not proven” by an independent regulatory commission.
Yesterday evening I had a meal with my team mates and we had a group photograph. I waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry. It’s been brought to my attention that frozen in a— Wayne Hennessey (@WayneHennessey1) January 6, 2019
A statement from the FA on Friday morning said: “It was alleged that a gesture he made, which was captured by a photograph and posted on social media, was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, contrary to FA Rule E3(1).
“It was further alleged that this constituted an ‘aggravated breach, which is defined in FA Rule E3 (2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or religion and/or belief.”
The Wales international had denied he was making a such a salute, claiming on Twitter that he was calling out to the person taking the photograph and any resemblance was “absolutely coincidental”.
[1/4] Wayne Hennessey has had a charge against him for a breach of FA Rule E3 found not proven by an Independent Regulatory Commission. pic.twitter.com/5V5yA5Wq6M— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) April 5, 2019
In a post on January 6, Hennessey said: “I waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry.
“It’s been brought to my attention that frozen in a moment by the camera this looks like I am making a completely inappropriate type of salute.
“I can assure everyone I would never ever do that and any resemblance to that kind of gesture is absolutely coincidental. Love and peace Wayne.”
Hennessey said in a statement on the club’s website following Friday’s announcement: “I’m delighted that the FA have found me not guilty of this charge.
“This was a genuinely innocent moment, which appeared to be something completely different when captured on camera.
“I want to state for the record that I abhor all forms of racism, fascism, anti-semitism or discrimination of any kind.”
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