Magpie Shelvey: Why I didn’t appeal five-match FA ban

Jonjo Shelvey
Jonjo Shelvey
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Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has explained his decision NOT to appeal his five-game suspension.

The former Liverpool player was this week found guilty by an independent panel of racially abusing Wolves player Romain Saiss in September’s Championship clash.

Shelvey – who denied the Football Association misconduct charge – has also been fined £100,000 and ordered to attend an education course.

The 24-year-old could have appealed the verdict of the Independent Regulatory Commision, which heard the case in Birmingham on Monday.

But Shelvey – who last night told of his “disappointment and frustration” – has opted not to contest the decision.

The England international – whose version of events was supported by two of his club-mates – felt he was “unlikely” to change the panel’s verdict.

“I am very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of the hearing,” said Shelvey.

“I strongly maintain that I did not use the offensive language that has been alleged.

“Despite my strong disappointment, we think an appeal is very unlikely to change the panel’s decision on the case, so I have decided not to take that option.

“Appealing the ban would also extend the period of uncertainty for the club and the team during such an important part of the season.

“This would not be fair on my club, manager or team-mates, and I want to draw a line under this now so that I can return to help my team with our promotion challenge as soon as possible.“

Shelvey, a hugely-influential figure on the pitch for United so far this season, will miss the Championship games against Sheffield Wednesday (on Boxing Day), Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Brentford and the FA Cup tie against Birmingham City.

United manager Rafa Benitez said: “Jonjo has maintained his position from the outset, and as such has received our full support.

“Despite this issue going on in the background, he has continued to train and play really well.

“Now he has made the decision not to appeal the verdict, we can focus on the upcoming games without uncertainty and distraction.”

Meanwhile, captain Glenn Loovens has called on Sheffield Wednesday to be brave ahead of Monday’s trip to Newcastle (7.45pm kick-off).

The centre-back said: “Newcastle are, of course, the ones to beat at the moment.

“We will go there without fear.

“We’ll play our own game and fight for every yard that we’re worth.

“Our form has been a little bit up and down until recently where we have had a bit of consistency.

“We have not taken the chances we have been creating in games which is frustrating.

“The crowd can see that we have not taken all our chances and it has been frustrating but they know we are playing well.

“On our day, we are a match for anyone in the league.”

Back-to-back Hillsborough successes over South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley and Rotherham United in the space of five days ensured Wednesday headed into the festive period in high spirits.

“It was important we won these two games if we want to be up there at the end of the season,” said former Celtic defender Loovens.

“You need to win these type of games, especially at home.

“I’m very glad we won them both and we can now look forward to a good week of training with Christmas at the end and a fantastic game coming up.”