Jonjo Shelvey has received a 5 match ban from the FA after being found guilty of using abusive and / or insulting language towards an opponent in the 2-0 loss against Wolves back on September 17th.
Shelvey had requested a personal hearing which has been undertaken over the past couple of days in Birmingham, however despite pleading not guilty the FA found against him and he will now start the 5 match ban. Whilst the player is awaiting written evidence of the verdict from the FA, should NUFC not wish to appeal this could take effect with immediate effect.
The incident was said to have been following an altercation between Shelvey and Moroccan midfielder Romain Saiss following the sending off of Vernon Anita. And whilst the player, who is said to have a limited grasp of the English language, did not make a complaint, a fellow teammate of the Wolves player made a complaint to the referee immediately after the game.
Whilst Shelvey was understood to have brought his own witness to the hearing to state that he did not make the alleged remark, the FA has clearly found that they did not believe either the Newcastle nr 12 or his witness and has found in favour of the claimant.
The FA is known to clamp down on any incident of racially motivated offences and recent bans have been handed out ranging form 4 to 8 games for such incidents.
Without an appeal Shelvey will be unavailable for all of the following matches:
Sheffield Wednesday (H) - 26 December
Nottingham Forrest (H) - 30 December
Blackburn (A) - 2 January
Birmingham City (A - FA Cup) - 7 January
Brentford (A) - 16 January
Should Newcastle United wish to wait until after receiving the written verdict the ban would likely start after the Sheffield Wednesday, meaning he would then will the trip to Rotherham at home on 21 January. And with the risk of having the ban extended should any appeal not be upheld it seems most likely that one of these two scenarios will be the eventual outcome.
With a £100,000 fine and Shelvey being ordered to attend an educational programme it would seem that Shelvey is paying the price for, if true, what was an unsavoury and very inappropriate remark. Whatever his own views or thoughts, there is no place for racially motivated derogatory language on a football pitch.
Critically perhaps will be Newcastle having Shelvey back for the away game at Brighton which follows closely after these fixtures, however the loss of our talisman for any of these games is bound to be a great miss given his form this season.
With only two games until the transfer window opens it will also be interesting to see if Rafa chooses to go into the transfer market to strengthen an area of his playing staff he will know he is light in. With fringe players like Tiote not getting a look in, and hardly the same kind of player as Jonjo, a loan option may well be something that the Newcastle United boss has to consider.