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Tonev handed ban for racist remarks
30 Oct 2014 19:07
Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev has been handed a seven-match ban after being found guilty of using racist insults, the Scottish Football Association has announced.
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The on-loan Aston Villa midfielder was charged following an incident involving Aberdeen defender Shay Logan during a Scottish Premiership match last month.
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The Bulgarian was ordered to appear before the SFA's judicial panel, which ruled he had committed "excessive misconduct by the use of offensive, insulting and abusive language of a racist nature".
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The Parkhead club immediately released a statement on their official website, saying they had accepted Tonev's claim of innocence and confirming the player will appeal the decision.
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A Celtic spokesperson said: "Racism has no place in football and, as a club for all people, Celtic absolutely abhors racism of any kind.
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"This was a very unfortunate case, but the club has accepted Aleksandar's explanation that he did not say the words that were alleged to have been said and that he is not a racist.
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"We are, therefore, very disappointed by the outcome today and can confirm that Aleksandar will be appealing this decision."
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Two years ago, then Celtic manager Neil Lennon stated that any form of racist behaviour at the club was "an instant sackable offence" - a view with which his successor Ronny Deila appears to concur, although he too backed his player.
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Speaking at the club's Lennoxtown training complex before the verdict was announced, the Hoops boss said: "I have spoken to him. He said it was not true and I believe him.
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"Of course we don't want racism at Celtic - that is the total opposite as what we want to be as a club. That is not acceptable."
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The original hearing date of 9 October was postponed as Tonev was on international duty with Bulgaria.
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The former CSKA Sofia and Lech Poznan player was making his belated Celtic debut, after arriving at Parkhead in the summer with a groin injury, when the incident took place.
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Logan immediately spoke to referee Bobby Madden and skipper Mark Reynolds before informing manager Derek McInnes.
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Fourth official Crawford Allan and Celtic were also made aware of the allegation by the Dons management team.
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