A Sheffield United Women’s player has said she plans to retire from football after being given a five-game ban for racially abusing an opponent.
As well as being punished by England’s governing Football Association on Wednesday, Sophie Jones also had her contract terminated by Sheffield United.
Jones, a forward, was sanctioned for racially abusing Tottenham Hotspur defender Renee Hector during a second-tier Women’s Championship game in Sheffield in January.
Hector said she had “received some monkey noises from an opposition player.”
That in turn led to Jones being charged by the FA.
Jones denied the claim and Sheffield United said she “maintains her innocence”.
But an independent regulatory commission announced the charge was “found proven”.
Jones said the ruling by what she claimed was a “kangaroo court” had left her unable to continue playing under an organisation she “does not have any confidence in”.
In a statement published on social media, Jones 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.”
Jones added that witness statements, as well as video and audio evidence in her favour had been “totally disregarded”, while her lawyer “wasn’t allowed to do his job” as a result of being “constantly shut down” by the panel.
“The hearing took place in a kangaroo court,” she said. “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.”
Earlier, the FA announcing a ban that also included a £200 fine and an order to attend an education course by saying “Sophie Jones has been given a five-match suspension with immediate effect”.
Sheffield United said the Yorkshire club “does not condone racism or any form of discrimination” before adding: “Following dialogue between the club and Jones, and taking into account the length of the suspension, it has been decided that her contract, which was due for review in the summer, will be terminated by mutual agreement,” the Blades added.
Hector welcomed the FA’s ruling by tweeting Wednesday: “There is no place for racism in our game.
“A zero tolerance policy is imperative in stamping this out from football therefore I welcome this verdict.”