Manchester United and Newcastle players banned for spitting

Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse banned for six and seven matches respectively.

Manchester United's Jonny Evans clashes with Newcastle's Papiss Cisse. Reuters
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Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse and Manchester United defender Jonny Evans have been banned for seven and six matches respectively for spitting at each other, the English Football Association announced on Saturday.

The punishments follow an unsavoury incident that occurred between the pair during the first half of United’s 1-0 win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Cisse accepted his charge on Thursday, but Evans contested his charge and his case was heard on Friday. Cisse has been hit with a longer ban due to a previous suspension this season for elbowing Everton’s Seamus Coleman.

“Both players were charged in relation to an alleged breach of FA Rule E1 [a] in that in or around the 38th minute of the fixture they spat at each other,” the FA said in a statement on its website.

“Mr Cisse accepted the charge and his suspension consists of six matches, which is the standard penalty for this offence, with an additional one match as he has previously accepted a violent conduct charge this season.

“Mr Evans denied the charge but it was found proven following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing on Friday, resulting in a six-match suspension.”

Both bans begin with immediate effect.

The incident occurred following a tangle between the players near the halfway line, with Evans seeming to spit towards the ground and Cisse appearing to react by spitting at the United defender’s neck.

Referee Anthony Taylor did not take action against either player, but footage of the incident was reviewed by a three-man panel of former elite referees, who all agreed that both players should have been sent off.

In a statement, Northern Ireland international Evans categorically denied the charge, saying: “I did not spit at Papiss Cisse.” His claim was supported by United manager Louis van Gaal.

But Senegal striker Cisse accepted his punishment and issued a public apology for his behaviour.

Evans will miss United’s FA Cup quarter-final at home to Arsenal on Monday, as well as league games against Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City, plus either an FA Cup semi-final, if United qualify, or a league game against Chelsea.

Cisse, meanwhile, must sit out Newcastle’s league fixtures against Everton, Arsenal, Sunderland, Liverpool, Tottenham, Swansea City and Leicester City. He will not be eligible to return to action until May 9.