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Jonny Evans and Papiss Cissé charged by FA over spitting row


PAPISS Cissé is facing a possible seven-match ban after accepting a Football Association charge of spitting at Manchester United’s Jonny Evans.

The offence carries an automatic six-game suspension and Cissé’s ban is likely to be extended as the Senegal striker accepted a violent conduct charge for elbowing Everton’s Séamus Coleman in December. Evans, who has publicly denied spitting at the Newcastle forward, has until 6pm on Friday to respond.

Wednesday’s incident, unseen by match officials but captured by television cameras, overshadowed the 1-0 win enjoyed by Louis van Gaal’s side. Accordingly, an independent three-man panel of former elite referees commissioned by the FA spent much of Thursday poring over video evidence before unanimously agreeing it should have been a double sending-off and advising the governing body to take retrospective action.

The Newcastle managing director, Lee Charnley, said: “Both ourselves and Papiss agree that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable. In life, when you do something wrong you have to front up, admit your mistakes and accept the punishment. Papiss was proactive this morning in making a full and heartfelt apology, which he did in advance of any notification from the FA regarding this charge.”

Charnley stated that Cissé would use his period of suspension to do community work. “Papiss is known to many of our region’s schools, community groups and junior football teams for his involvement in the work of the Newcastle United Foundation,” he said.

“He has expressed to us his strong desire to engage in additional community activities during his ban. He is particularly keen to use his position as a role model to encourage young and influential fans to engage in sport and learn lessons about the importance of fair play and personal conduct.”

In a statement released on Thursday evening, the FA said: “The charges are in relation to an alleged breach of FA rule E1(a) in that in or around the 38th minute of the game the two players spat at each other.”

Such retrospective action became possible when Anthony Taylor, the match referee, confirmed in his official report of the game that he had not spotted the altercation.

Evans expressed astonishment at the furore and denied point-blank that he had spat at Cissé. “Having woken up this morning, I am shocked to have seen the media coverage from last night’s match,” said the United defender. “I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cissé.

“I was totally unaware of any spitting incident and had assumed that the issue at the time was with the challenge and his attempted retaliation to the tackle from the floor.

“During the game, Papiss Cissé and I spoke about the incident and it is clear by my reaction in the television footage that I was totally surprised by any suggestion of spitting. It is not in my character or in my nature to spit at anybody, nor is it something I have ever done or would ever do. It is certainly not something that I did last night.”

Cissé simply said sorry. “I have apologies to make to a lot of people today,” he said. “Firstly to my team-mates and to our supporters, secondly to Jonny Evans, and thirdly to every football fan who saw the incident between myself and Jonny.

“I reacted to something I found very unpleasant. Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be a positive role model, especially for our young fans, and yesterday I let you down.

“I hope children out there playing football for their clubs and schools this weekend will know better than to retaliate when they are angry. Perhaps when they see the problem it now causes me and my team, they will be able to learn from my mistake, not copy it.” –