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The FA explains why Manchester United defender Jonny Evans was banned for spitting

Jonny Evans, Papiss Cisse, Newcastle v Manchester United
Image: Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse: Both banned for spitting

The behaviour of Manchester United defender Jonny Evans was described as "simply disgusting", by a Commission which banned him for six matches for spitting at Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.

It was alleged that Evans was a person who "habitually spits", but an Independent Commission accepted that Evans has a "good and maybe commendable record".

Evans strongly denied an FA charge, following an incident in a Premier League match between Newcastle and Manchester United on 4 March at St James' Park.

Cisse, who also received a lengthy ban for the same offence, accepted the charge. 

The Football Association has published an Independent Regulatory Commission's written reasons for the bans.

The incidents were not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

"The video evidence is crucial," noted Brian Jones, the Commission's chairman. "What is clear when looking at those clips is that, for whatever reason, Mr Evans clearly spits downwards and towards Mr Cisse, who is actually below him, and actually getting back on his feet.

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After a long and very detailed and intense discussion, the Regulatory Commission came to the unanimous conclusion that on the balance of probability, the case against Mr Evans was proved.
Commission chairman Brian Jones

"At the same time, it is clear that Mr Evans is looking directly and indeed aggressively at Mr Cisse. His lips are 'pursed' and he is close to Mr Cisse.

"After a long and very detailed and intense discussion, the Regulatory Commission came to the unanimous conclusion that on the balance of probability, the case against Mr Evans was proved."

Duty Of Care

In explaining their decision, the three-man Commission concluded: "Evans had (and has) a duty of care, if spitting for whatever reason, not to direct the same in the general direction of an opponent, or indeed anyone else. The video clips clearly show that he failed in his duty of care.

"There may, in some quarters, be substantial sympathy for Mr Evans, but the video evidence shows that he did what he did, and the ordinary man in the street will find his action to be simply disgusting and should not be allowed in any walk of life, let alone on any football field."

The Commission noted that all three former senior referees consulted agreed that, if the referee had seen the incident in question, then Evans would have been sent off for spitting at an opponent.

Evans said it was not his "intent" to spit at Cisse but the Commission concluded: "Only one person knows his intent and that is Mr Evans. The Regulatory Commission, with the best will in the world cannot, and certainly should not, guess at his intent."

The Commission noted that Manchester United, and Evans, agreed that "spitting has no place in football and should be eradicated".

They examined further incidents of Evans spitting, but concluded it did not affect their decision. 

"If he was, as alleged to be the case, a person who "habitually spits", then the Commission were concerned as to why he did not turn his head away from Mr Cisse when so spitting," said the Commission, in a five-page judgment.

"If that had been a family member or indeed another team member or his manager in front and below him, would he still have carried out the same manoeuvre?

"Numerous video clips were submitted showing Mr Evans spitting. They were mainly when he was alone and away from others, and bluntly, did not assist the Regulatory Commission when considering this incident."

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