Former England and Newcastle forward Peter Beardsley has been suspended from all football-related activity after being found guilty of making racist comments by an independent regulatory commission.
The 58-year-old, who denied the allegations, left his role as the Magpies’ Under-23s coach earlier this year after an internal investigation and has now been banned from the game by the Football Association for 32 weeks until April next year.
An FA statement read: “An independent Regulatory Commission has suspended Peter Beardsley from all football and football-related activity for a period of 32 weeks until 29 April 2020.”
The statement continued: “The Football Association [The FA] charged Mr Beardsley with three breaches of FA Rule E3 following the conclusion of initial disciplinary proceedings by Newcastle United FC into allegations of misconduct.
“The FA alleged that Mr Beardsley used abusive and/or insulting words, which were contrary to FA Rule E3(1) and constituted an “Aggravated Breach” under FA Rule E3(2) due to reference of ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality, while employed as a coach of the club’s Under-23s team.
“All three breaches of FA Rule E3 were denied but subsequently found proven based upon the results and findings of Newcastle United FC’s disciplinary proceedings.
“Mr Beardsley has also been ordered to complete a face-to-face education course.”
A formal complaint was made about Beardsley by midfielder Yasin Ben El-Mhanni, who has since left the club, in January last year.
It was alleged Beardsley used abusive and/or insulting words towards Newcastle’s Under-23 players but he had denied the allegations. “I’m not a bully, and I’m not a racist,” he said at a public speaking event in Gateshead during March.
A statement by his solicitors, released at the time his period of leave began when Newcastle launched their probe, read: “Peter Beardsley categorically denies the allegations. It is hoped the investigation will conclude quickly.”
Beardsley agreed to take a period of leave as Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley looked into the accusations, with Ben Dawson taking over his duties.
Newcastle-born Beardsley made more than 300 appearances for the club in two spells during an illustrious playing career which also brought 59 England caps.
The 58-year-old began his career at Carlisle and also had spells with Vancouver Whitecaps, Manchester United, Liverpool, Everton, Bolton, Manchester City, Fulham, Hartlepool and Doncaster as well as the Magpies during a lengthy playing career which saw him thrill fans with his skill and vision.
El-Mhanni, now 23, was released by Newcastle during May 2018 after making two senior appearances, both in the FA Cup, and is now on the books at League One side Scunthorpe.
The regulatory commission’s written reasons for its decision reveal they accepted allegations made by four unnamed players that he had told black players of African origin that “You should be used to that” during a team-building exercise at Go Ape, suggested 18-year-old players were older than they claimed and called another a monkey.
In its conclusion, the commission said: “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.
“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 offence.
“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.”