Beardsley banned for 32 weeks after being found guilty of racial abuse
Written by Simon Austin — September 19, 2019
PETER BEARDSLEY has been banned from football for 32 weeks after being found guilty of three charges of racially abusing black players while he was coach of Newcastle’s Under-23 side.
A three-man Football Association regulatory commission - made up of chairman Lord Dyson, the former barrister and judge; Gareth Farrelly, the former Republic of Ireland international, who is currently a solicitor; and former professional footballer and manager Tony Agana - found the former England striker guilty of three aggravated breaches of Rule E3.
Beardsley was found guilty of calling a player of black African origin a monkey during a game of head tennis and telling black players “you should be used to that” on a team-building trip to the outdoor adventure park Go Ape.
He was also found guilty of questioning the legitimacy of a black player’s age, which the panel said was “a negative stereotype that players of black African origin commit fraud as to their true age”. You can read the full judgement via this link.
The 58-year-old’s comments were, the panel concluded, “obviously racist and wholly unacceptable” and he was banned from all football and football-related activity until 29 April 2020. The former Newcastle striker, who won 58 England caps, has also been ordered to attend an FA education course.
The panel said it did not believe that Beardsley, who denied the allegations, was racist but concluded he had committed acts of racial discrimination.
“We are satisfied that Mr Beardsley is not a racist in the sense of being ill-disposed to persons on grounds of their race or ethnicity,” the commission said. “It is also relevant that he has not had the benefit of training and education about offensive racist remarks and the importance of not making them.”
It added: “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.”
This led the anti-racism organisation Kick It Out to respond: “Beardsley’s career in football has no relevance to this case - calling black players monkeys, comparing black players to apes and questioning their true age are all horrific racial stereotypes and regardless of their reputation.
“Punishment and education is the only way to deal with these matters. The racist comments and innuendoes made by Peter Beardsley were appalling and he is rightly facing an appropriate eight-month ban, as well as mandatory education.
“Now Beardsley has been found guilty, we once again reiterate our call that Newcastle United should publish the result of their own investigation, and clarify whether he was sacked for racist abuse. This inaction dilutes the club’s message and brand of #UnitedAsOne.”
Newcastle announced that Beardsley had left the club on March 6th this year - 14 months after the allegations of racism and bullying had been made by several of his former players. The club conducted an internal investigation into the allegations, but the results have never been publicly disclosed
In a statement issued by his solicitors, Beardsley said he was “very surprised and disappointed by the decision”.
The statement added: “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. 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 concluded by saying that Beardsley “looks forward to returning to work in football, which has been his life, at the end of his suspension”.