Morecambe’s Yann Songo’o has been handed a six-game ban and ordered to complete face-to-face education after admitting a charge of directing a homophobic insult at an opposing player.
The Football Association launched an investigation into the incident after Songo’o was shown a straight red card in Morecambe’s home defeat to Tranmere on January 30.
The 29-year-old French midfielder was sent off by referee Paul Howard for his outburst as a Tranmere player was receiving treatment following a foul.
Songo’o was subsequently charged with an ‘aggravated breach’ of FA Rule E3, with an independent regulatory commission imposing the sanction following a hearing.
The suspension includes two matches already served, so Songo’o will not be available for Morecambe’s next four games.
An FA statement read: “Morecambe FC’s Yann Songo’o has been suspended for six matches and must complete face-to-face education after admitting a charge for a breach of FA Rule E3 that occurred during a match against Tranmere Rovers FC in the EFL League Two on Saturday 30 January 2021.
“The midfielder used abusive and/or insulting language towards an opponent during the 45th minute of the match, which is contrary to FA Rule E3.1, and this also constituted an “aggravated breach”, as defined in FA Rule E3.2, because the language included a reference to sexual orientation.
“The suspension, which was imposed by an independent Regulatory Commission during a subsequent hearing, includes two matches that have already been served. As a result, Yann Songo’o will be unavailable for Morecambe FC’s next four matches.
“The independent Regulatory Commission’s written reasons for the sanction will be published in due course.”
Morecambe responded at the time in a club statement by saying they “abhor abuse of any sort, be it on the grounds of race, colour, religion, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, disability or sexual orientation”.
Following the confirmation of the disciplinary ruling, Songo’o said on the club website: “I’d like to offer a sincere apology for any offence I’ve caused.
“I’m really disappointed in myself for using that term, because it does not reflect the type of person I am but it was under provocation.
“I’m totally against any form of discrimination and I know what I said was totally unacceptable, I can only apologise and ask for forgiveness to anyone I offended.”
Morecambe added the club “fully accepts the findings of the FA hearing” and again stressed their opposition to any sort of abuse.
“We are a community-based family club that has high expectations of its players and staff and Yann’s behaviour fell short of those expectations in this instance,” the club said.
“We will reinforce our commitment to making Morecambe Football Club a wholly inclusive environment and we will remind all football and non-football staff of their responsibility to promote and support such an environment through comprehensive diversity, equality and inclusion training.”
Kick It Out chief executive Tony Burnett hopes Songo’o will learn from his experience.
“We believe it’s important that players, as well as fans, are offered the opportunity to take part in education following the use of any discriminatory language,” Burnett said in a statement to the PA news agency.
“We appreciate emotions can run high during a match, but there is no place for discrimination in football.
“Yann has rightly apologised, so hopefully he learns from this and the situation isn’t repeated in the future.”