Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey has pleaded not guilty to a charge from the Football Association of using abusive language towards an opponent in a potentially ugly race row.
The misconduct charge from the governing body relates to an incident “that included reference to ethnicity, race or nationality” which allegedly occurred during the Magpies’ 2-0 Sky Bet Championship loss to Wolves at St James’ Park on September 17.
A statement on the Newcastle club website read: “Newcastle United can confirm that Jonjo Shelvey has today pleaded not guilty to an FA charge of misconduct in relation to an alleged incident during Newcastle United’s game against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, 17 September.
“The player has requested a personal hearing with the FA regarding this matter. The club will be making no further comment until the matter has been concluded.”
Newcastle’s Vurnon Anita was sent off in the 87th minute of the game following a challenge on Wolves substitute Ivan Cavaleiro, although there is no suggestion Shelvey’s charge relates to that incident.
In announcing the charge, which set a deadline of November 16 for the player to respond, a statement from the FA read: ‘It is alleged that in or around the 87th minute of the fixture, he (Shelvey) used abusive and/or insulting words towards an opponent.
”It is further alleged that this breach of Rule E3(1) is an ”Aggravated Breach” as defined in Rule E3(2), as it included reference to ethnic origin and/or race and/or nationality.”
If found guilty the 24-year-old faces a ban of at least five games, which would rule him out of action until mid-December.
In May 2013, the FA introduced new rules to ensure racist or other discriminatory abuse by players would carry a minimum five-match ban.
The rules came after a review of sanctions following the high-profile cases which saw John Terry banned for four matches and Luis Suarez for eight for racist abuse on the pitch.
Shelvey, who has won six caps for England, joined Newcastle from Swansea in January, but could not prevent the club’s relegation to the Championship.
He has played in all of Newcastle’s league games so far this season, though, as the Magpies top the table by three points and his loss would be a major blow for the club.
Following the international break, Newcastle will resume their promotion push away to sixth-placed Leeds on Sunday.