Sophie Jones retires from football and hits out at FA for racism ban
Jones claims FA hearing took place in a "kangaroo court"
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 21/03/19 5:35am
Former Sheffield United footballer Sophie Jones says she has been forced to retire and claims she is not guilty of racism despite being banned by the FA.
Jones was sacked by the Blades and suspended for five games for using abusive and/or insulting words to Tottenham Ladies defender Renee Hector.
The FA set up an independent panel to hear from both sides, with the charge of using abusive and/or insulting words - that included reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race - found proven.
Jones said: "I strongly stand firm that I am not guilty with regards to the charge that the FA have brought against me.
"I am struggling to come to terms with the decision and how the FA can come to a verdict based on probability from the two witness accounts verbally given.
"The hearing took place in a kangaroo court."
The FA swiftly responded to Jones' accusations and a spokesperson said: "The case against Sophie Jones was heard by an Independent Regulatory Commission, comprising two independent lawyers and a former football player and manager.
"The written reasons in the case will be published in due course, which will provide a detailed account of the evidence given and the findings of the commission.
"The FA continues to treat all allegations of discrimination seriously and encourages any players who believe they have been the subject of, or witness to, discriminatory abuse to report this through the appropriate channels."
Jones says she is being forced to retire because she does not want to work under the organisation.
She added: "It is with a heavy heart that I feel I am unable to continue with football and play under an organisation that I do not have any confidence in.
"I would like to thank (co-owner) Kevin McCabe and everyone at Sheffield United for their continuous support."
Defender Hector earlier welcomed the FA's verdict, tweeting: "There is no place for racism in our game. A zero tolerance policy is imperative in stamping this out from football.
"No one should be subjected to racist abuse on or off the pitch and I felt a responsibility to call it out for what it was."
Hector made the allegations on social media following Tottenham's 2-1 win over Sheffield United at the start of the year.