Swedish ref's career is 'over' after offensive remarks to Guinean

By Simon ReevesBBC Sport, Sweden
Swedish ref Martin Strombergsson
Sweden's Martin Strombergsson has worked as an international referee for many years

A Swedish referee suspended for making offensive remarks to Guinea international goalkeeper Aly Keita says his career is 'effectively' over.

Speaking to a Swedish newspaper, Martin Strombergsson regretted remarks made to Keita in a top-flight match last year.

Ostersunds skipper Keita said last month the referee told him "to shut up and go back into his goal so bananas could be thrown at him."

"I need to find a new employer in the future," said the 43-year-old official.

This was the Fifa referee's response to the fact that he has been suspended for the rest of the season, which is only six weeks old.

He is yet to officially hear whether his career as a referee is over but his suspension lasts until the end of his current contract.

Stromgbergsson's punishment was announced on Friday by the referee's committee of the Swedish Football Federation (SVFF).

"Martin Strombergsson insists that he had no racist intentions with what he said," noted Peter Ekstrom, chairman of the committee.

"We have no reason to doubt this, but still consider it to be a very inappropriate statement, and it must be obvious that it can be perceived as offensive."

The decision was backed by Hakan Sjotrand, the SVFF's Secretary General.

"I completely share the Judiciary Committee's view on the matter," he said. "What has happened is very serious, and is contrary to the values of Swedish football - regardless of the intentions Strombergsson had.

"It feels good that we have thoroughly investigated the incident and talked to everyone involved. It makes us feel secure in our judgment. It is good and important that Aly Keita told about his experience.

"We must dare to talk about these issues in Swedish football."

Osterunds have told BBC Sport Africa that the club and Keita have decided to say no more on the issue.

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