Celtic midfielder Aleksandar Tonev was accused of directing a racist remark at Shay Logan, an Englishman playing for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, in a match Sep. 13, when two teams battled each other at Celtic Park, with the the Bulgarian making his debut.
Tonev, 24, is on a year-long loan at Celtic from BPL club Aston Villa, where he made 17 league appearances last season and score no goals.
The Scottish Football Association’s held a “disciplinary tribunal hearing at Hampden Park on Thursday”, according to The Guardian, and the group concluded that he was guilty of the supposed actions.
However, Tonev has rejected such allegations, and will appeal the decision.
Celtic released a statement in response:
“Racism has no place in football and as a club for all people, Celtic absolutely abhors racism of any kind.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.
“We are, therefore, very disappointed by the outcome today and can confirm that Aleksandar will be appealing this decision.”
Believing that racism is a very serious issue, former Celtic boss Neil Lennon, who left the club in May after four years as boss, shared his thoughts regarding the incident.
“I have spoken to him. He said it was not true and I believe him. 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.”
Racist incidents in Italy, Spain and England may be bound to occur, but it’s certainly a positive sign to see disciplinary action taken. Even though coaches typically back their players in incidents similar to this one, most managers around the soccer world have concluded that bigotry is unnecessary and unfounded.