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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 27 May, 2020

Ex-Sheffield United striker retires and hits out at FA after being found guilty of racial abuse

Sophie Jones has reiterated her innocence and labelled the hearing as a ‘kangaroo court’.

Sophie Jones (r) after scoring a goal in December.
Sophie Jones (r) after scoring a goal in December.

FORMER SHEFFIELD UNITED striker Sophie Jones, whose contract was terminated by the club this afternoon after being banned for racial abuse, has quit football and hit out at the English Football Association (FA).

Jones, 27, has released a lengthy statement on Twitter, again claiming that she is not guilty of racism following the outcome of the FA’s disciplinary hearing — which she says took place in a ‘kangaroo court’. 

Earlier today, the Liverpool native was handed a five-match suspension, fined £200 and ordered to attend an education course for an incident involving Tottenham defender Renée Hectot in early January.

Hector claimed she was subjected to “monkey noises” by an opposing unnamed Sheffield United player during their FA Women’s Championship clash.

Jones was charged in February and has denied the charge — using abusive and/or insulting words – that included reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race — since the allegations surfaced. 

She has reiterated her innocence again this evening, while strongly questioning the FA’s decision. 

“I would like to state on record that I do not condone racism in any form and I will continue to stand by this statement,” she wrote

“I strongly stand firm that I am not guilty with regards to the charge that the FA have brought against me. 

“I am struggling to come to terms with this decision and how the FA can come to a verdict based on probability from the two witness accounts verbally give, instead of reviewing the case and its evidence, in its entirety, based on the Sport Law and Practice Second Edition stating ‘the more serious the allegation the greater degree of satisfaction required.”

statenebt Source: Sophie Jones Twitter.

She then continues to point out what “the FA ‘independent’ panel received” in terms of witness statements and evidence, and how her barrister “wasn’t allowed to do his job” throughout the process.

“The hearing took place in a kangaroo court,” she added.

“It is with a heavy heart that I feel I am unable to continue within football and play under an organisation that I do not have any confidence in. 

“I would like to personally thank Kevin McCabe and everyone at Sheffield United for their continuous support.”

An FA Spokesperson, as quoted by BBC Sports editor Dan Roan, responded:

“The case against Sophie Jones was heard by an Independent Regulatory Commission comprising two independent lawyers and a former football player and manager.

“The written reasons in the case will be published in due course, which will provide a detailed account of the evidence given and the findings of the Commission.

“The FA continues to treat all allegations of discrimination seriously and encourages any players who believe they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuuse to report this through the appropriate channels.”

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Emma Duffy

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