Sheffield Wednesday forward Fernando Forestieri could play in season opener at Reading despite FA racism charge
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Lee Bullen says forward Fernando Forestieri could feature in tomorrow’s season opener against Reading despite being found guilty of an FA racism charge this week.
The Argentinian-born 29-year-old was found guilty of using racist language towards Mansfield defender Krystian Pearce in a pre-season friendly last summer.
The FA released a statement on Wednesday banning Forestieri for six matches, though the appeal process engaged by Wednesday could allow him to play tomorrow.
Bullen said that Forestieri’s attitude has been ‘first class’ despite the news.
The caretaker manager said: “Obviously he is disappointed and I think his statement sums it up.
“His head is in the right place. He spoke to me and said ‘listen, if I am in the squad I really want to go, don’t think about leaving me out’ and his attitude is really positive.
“Football allows you to forget about things on the outside at time and credit to the wee man, he had a tough two or three days but he's stood out in training and his attitude has spot on.
“It's one of these things that we've known is coming for a while and it's been hanging over Fernando.
“He’s is in a much more positive mood than he was a few days ago, that's for sure.”
Despite being acquitted in March at Mansfield Magistrates Court, Forestieri now faces that lengthy suspension. He has already served a three-match ban relating to that incident and fined £25,000.
The FA statement read: "Fernando Forestieri has been given a six-match suspension and fined £25,000 after a breach of FA Rule E3(2) was found proven by a Regulatory Commission.
"It was alleged that words used by the Sheffield Wednesday player during a friendly fixture against Mansfield Town FC on 24 July 2018 breached Rule E3(1) as they were abusive and/or insulting.
"It was further alleged that the words constituted an ‘Aggravated Breach’, which is defined in Rule E3(2), as they included reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race.
"The striker has also been warned as to his future conduct and must attend face to face education but the sanction is currently set aside pending appeal."