Sheffield United Women’s player leaves club after ban for racial abuse
Sophie Jones found guilty of making monkey noises at Spurs defender Renée Hector
Sheffield United’s Sophie Jones (L) has left the club after being found guilty of racial abuse and banned for five matches. Photograph: George Wood/Getty
The Sheffield United Women’s player Sophie Jones has left the club after being given a five-match ban for racially abusing an opponent during the Championship match against Tottenham.
In a statement, United said that Jones’s contract had been terminated by “mutual agreement” after she was found guilty of making monkey noises at the Spurs centre-back Renée Hector.
Jones had denied the charges and maintained her innocence throughout. However, following a four-week investigation the English FA ruled that she had broken Rule E1 – using abusive and/or insulting words – and that her behaviour constituted an “aggravated breach” of FA Rule E3 , as it included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.
Sheffield United confirmed that Jones, who was also fined £200 and ordered to attend a Football Association Inclusion and Diversity Workshop, was “disappointed with the FA’s decision”.
“The club works closely with the EFL, the FA and Kick it Out and would like to reiterate that it does not condone racism or any form of discrimination,” it added. “Following dialogue between the club and Jones, and taking into account the length of the suspension, it has been decided that her contract, which was due for review in the summer, will be terminated by mutual agreement.”
The FA confirmed that Jones’s ban will remain in place if and when she joins a new club, whether that is in the UK or abroad.
After the incident on January 6th, Hector immediately alerted the referee and later took to Twitter to reveal what had gone on. “Such a shame that racism seems to be rising up again in football – I received some monkey noises from an opposition player,” she wrote. “The only reaction was to let the football do the talking and that we did … great start to the year!”
On Wednesday, after the verdict, Hector released a statement, saying: “There is no place for racism in our game. A zero tolerance policy is imperative in stamping this out from football therefore I welcome this verdict. No one should be subjected to racist abuse on or off the pitch and I felt a responsibility to call it out for what it was. I want to now concentrate on the last five games of the FAWC and trying to secure promotion with Spurs. Thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout this process.” - Guardian