Sophie Jones: Sheffield United Women forward banned for racial abuse

Sophie Jones
Sophie Jones joined Sheffield United from local rivals Sheffield FC

Sheffield United Women forward Sophie Jones has been banned for five games after being found guilty of racially abusing Tottenham player Renee Hector.

Hector claimed she "received some monkey noises" from an opponent during a Championship match on 6 January.

Jones, 27, whose Blades deal has been terminated by mutual consent, has said she is "not guilty" and the "hearing took place in a kangaroo court".

She has also been fined £200 and must attend an educational course.  

Defender Hector made the allegations in a social media post after Tottenham had beaten the Blades 2-1.

Spurs, who said the alleged incident was reported to the referee by Hector during the game, also reported it to the Football Association.

"There is no place for racism in our game," said Hector on Twitter. "A zero tolerance policy is imperative in stamping this out from football therefore I welcome this verdict.

"No-one should be subjected to racist abuse on or off the pitch and I felt a responsibility to call it out for what it was."

The FA set up an independent panel to hear from both sides, with the charge of using abusive and/or insulting words - that included reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race - found proven.

An FA spokesperson said: "The case against Sophie Jones was heard by an Independent Regulatory Commission comprising two independent lawyers and a former football player and manager.

"The written reasons in the case will be published in due course, which will provide a detailed account of the evidence given and the findings of the Commission."

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies FC tweet

'I am unable to continue within football'

Sheffield United confirmed that Jones' contract, which was "due for review" at the end of the season, had been "terminated by mutual agreement".

In a statement, Jones has since suggested her football career is over altogether.

"It is with a heavy heart that I feel I am unable to continue within football and play under an organisation that I do not have any confidence in," she said.

"I would like to state on record that I do not condone racism in any form and I will continue to stand by this statement.

"I strongly stand firm that I am not guilty with regards to the charge that the FA have brought against me.

"I am struggling to come to terms with this decision and how the FA can come to a verdict based on probability from the two witness accounts verbally given, instead of reviewing the case and its evidence, in its entirety."

In their own statement, the Blades added: "The club works closely with the English Football League, the FA and Kick it Out and would like to reiterate that it does not condone racism or any form of discrimination."

Sheffield United have six league games remaining this season - and play Tottenham in their next match on Sunday.