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Beardsley banned from soccer for 8 months for racism

LONDON (AP) — Former England and Newcastle forward Peter Beardsley has been suspended from all soccer-related activity for eight months after being found guilty of making racist comments toward young players.

Beardsley left his role as Newcastle under-23s team coach earlier this year after an internal investigation and he has now been banned by the Football Association until April 2020. The FA regulatory commission accepted charges made by four unnamed players that Beardsley had told black players of African origin that "you should be used to that" during a team-building exercise at the Go Ape adventure course, suggested 18-year-old players were older than they claimed and called another a monkey.

"We regret the outcome that we have felt compelled to reach in this case," the commission concluded in findings released Thursday. "Mr. Beardsley is a towering figure in football and his footballing reputation is beyond question. But on the three occasions which are the subject of the charges, he made remarks which were obviously racist and were wholly unacceptable. Even if he did not intend to do so, he plainly did cause offense.

"It is particularly important at a time when racism in football is prevalent that remarks of the kind made by Mr. Beardsley are punished severely." Beardsley made more than 300 appearances for the club in two spells during an illustrious playing career which also brought 59 England caps.

The FA has ordered Beardsley to complete a face-to-face education course. "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 FA panel said. "He is now 58 years of age. 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."

A formal complaint was made about Beardsley by midfielder Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, who has since left the club, in January last year. El-Mhanni was released by Newcastle during May 2018 after making two senior appearances, both in the FA Cup, and is now with third-tier club Scunthorpe.

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