Newcastle legend Peter Beardsley handed seven-month ban by the FA after being found guilty of using racist

Newcastle legend Peter Beardsley handed seven-month ban by the FA after being found guilty of using racist

Former Newcastle Under-23s coach Peter Bardsley has been suspended from all football-related activity for 32 weeks after being found to have been racially abusive to players by an independent regulatory commission.

The 58-year-old, who ‘categorially denied’ the allegations, left his role at St James Park earlier this year following a 14-month internal investigation.

Peter Beardsley has been suspended from all football-related activity for 32 weeks

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Peter Beardsley has been suspended from all football-related activity for 32 weeks

The Toon legend has now been banned from the game by the Football Association until April 2020.

An FA statement read: “An independent Regulatory Commission has suspended Peter Beardsley from all football and football-related activity for a period of 32 weeks until 29 April 2020.”

The statement continued: “The Football Association [The FA] charged Mr Beardsley with three breaches of FA Rule E3 following the conclusion of initial disciplinary proceedings by Newcastle United FC into allegations of misconduct.

“The FA alleged that Mr Beardsley used abusive and/or insulting words, which were contrary to FA Rule E3(1) and constituted an ‘Aggravated Breach’ under FA Rule E3(2) due to reference of ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality, while employed as a coach of the club’s Under-23s team.

“All three breaches of FA Rule E3 were denied but subsequently found proven based upon the results and findings of Newcastle United FC’s disciplinary proceedings.

“Mr Beardsley has also been ordered to complete a face-to-face education course.”

A formal complaint was made about Beardsley by midfielder Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, who has since left the club, in January last year.

Yasin El-Mhanni, who left Newcastle at the end of last season, made a complaint about Beardsley

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Yasin El-Mhanni, who left Newcastle at the end of last season, made a complaint about Beardsley

It was alleged Beardsley used abusive and/or insulting words towards Newcastle’s Under-23 players but he had denied the allegations. “I’m not a bully, and I’m not a racist,” he said at a public speaking event in Gateshead during March.

The 58-year-old began his career at Carlisle and also had spells with Vancouver Whitecaps, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Bolton, Manchester City, Fulham, Hartlepool and Doncaster as well as the Magpies during a lengthy playing career which saw him thrill fans with his skill and vision.

El-Mhanni, now 23, was released by Newcastle during May 2018 after making two senior appearances, both in the FA Cup, and is now on the books at League One side Scunthorpe.

The regulatory commission’s written reasons for its decision reveal they accepted allegations made by four unnamed players that he had told black players of African origin that ‘You should be used to that’ during a team-building exercise at Go Ape, suggested 18-year-old players were older than they claimed and called another a monkey.

In its conclusion, the commission said: “We regret the outcome that we have felt compelled to reach in this case.

“Mr Beardsley is a towering figure in football and his footballing reputation is beyond question.

“But on the three occasions which are the subject of the charges, he made remarks which were obviously racist and were wholly unacceptable.

“Even if he did not intend to do so, he plainly did cause offence.

“It is particularly important at a time when racism in football is prevalent that remarks of the kind made by Mr Beardsley are punished severely.”

In a statement released on his behalf by his solicitors, Beardsley spoke of his disappointment at the decision, but vowed to return to football.

It said: “Peter Beardsley is very surprised and disappointed by the decision of the Regulatory Commission.

“It was almost impossible for Peter to clear his name because of the serious flaws and contamination of evidence that occurred in the disciplinary process before Newcastle United and by the unusual fact that The FA Rules put the burden of proof on him to prove his innocence in the proceedings.


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“After a long process which has been unnecessarily protracted, Peter feels vindicated that the Commission has expressly found that he is not a racist.

“Peter and his legal advisers have been inundated with support from all over the country, both from fellow professionals of the highest repute including John Barnes, Kevin Keegan, Les Ferdinand and Andrew Cole, as well as other football professionals including managers, coaches, players, and football fans, all of which provided unchallenged evidence to the Commission as to Peter’s good character, the fact that he is not a racist and whatever was said, there was no intent to cause offence.”

The statement continued: “Peter has had many great years at Newcastle United and despite the circumstances of his dismissal, he will always have the club close to his heart and wishes the fans the success they deserve in the future.

“Surprisingly, Newcastle United did not provide the relevant training and education for Peter.

9. Andy Cole (wore United's <b>no.9</b> from 1996-2001)

Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole was one of several high-profile ex-players who provided evidence to the Commission as to Peter’s good character

“Peter has always been willing and eager to attend all and any training organised by the club.

“Peter fully appreciates all the support over what has been a difficult period for him and his family, particularly that of previous manager and colleague Arthur Cox. Peter has categorically denied the allegations throughout whilst continuing to honour the contractual obligations of confidentiality to Newcastle United and maintaining his silence which in itself has been very difficult.

“With no avenue left open to him to clear his name, Peter has no choice but to acknowledge the decision and now looks forward to moving on with his life and resuming his career.

“He shall respect the sanction imposed and looks forward to returning to work in football, which has been his life, at the end of his suspension.”