Jonjo Shelvey has explained his decision NOT to appeal his five-game ban.
The Newcastle United midfielder was this week found guilty by an independent panel of racially abusing Wolverhampton Wanderers player Romain Saiss in September’s Championship clash.
I am very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of the hearing. I strongly maintain that I did not use the offensive language that has been alleged.Jonjo Shelvey
Shelvey – who denied the Football Association misconduct charge – has also been fined £100,000 and ordered to attend an education course.
The 24-year-old could have appealed the verdict of the Independent Regulatory Commision, which heard the case in Birmingham on Monday.
But Shelvey – who last night told of his “disappointment and frustration” – has opted not to contest the decision.
The England international – whose version of events was supported by two of his United team-mates – felt he was “unlikely” to change the panel’s verdict.
“I am very disappointed and frustrated with the outcome of the hearing,” said Shelvey.
“I strongly maintain that I did not use the offensive language that has been alleged.
“Despite my strong disappointment, we think an appeal is very unlikely to change the panel’s decision on the case, so I have decided not to take that option.
“Appealing the ban would also extend the period of uncertainty for the club and the team during such an important part of the season.
“This would not be fair on my club, manager or team-mates, and I want to draw a line under this now so that I can return to help my team with our promotion challenge as soon as possible.“
Shelvey, a hugely-influential figure on the pitch for United so far this season, will miss the Championship games against Sheffield Wednesday (on Boxing Day), Nottingham Forest, Blackburn Rovers and Brentford and the FA Cup tie against Birmingham City.
United manager Rafa Benitez said: “Jonjo has maintained his position from the outset, and as such has received our full support.
“Despite this issue going on in the background, he has continued to train and play really well.
“Now he has made the decision not to appeal the verdict, we can focus on the upcoming games without uncertainty and distraction.”
The club added: “Newcastle United does not tolerate any form of discrimination or abuse and condemns the use of racist, sexist or homophobic remarks in the strongest possible terms.
“The club will not be making any further comment.”