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Port Vale's Tom Pope handed six game ban and £3,500 fine over Twitter comments

Port Vale's Tom Pope has been banned for six games for comments he made on social media.

The FA have also fined him £3,500 and ordered him to complete an education course in relation to a Twitter post on 5 January.

In response to being asked to 'please predict the #WWIII result' he replied 'We invade Iran then Cuba then North Korea then the Rothchilds are crowned champions of every bank on the planet'.

The comments were perceived by some who responded to the post to be antisemitic, but Pope stated that was not his intention.

The striker was charged following an investigation, but had requested a personal hearing.

As a result of the ongoing pandemic it took place over video-conference last Friday (17 July).

In a statement, the FA said: "The Port Vale FC player denied that comments he made were abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute, contrary to FA Rule E3(1), and constituted an “Aggravated Breach”, which is defined in Rule E3(2), as they included, whether express or implied, reference to race and/or religion and/or ethnic origin. 

"An independent Regulatory Commission subsequently found the charge to be proven during a personal hearing."

Port Vale FC have released the following statement: "Tom Pope and the Club have now received the decision and the written reasons for the decision of the FA tribunal in this case and have considered them with care. 

"We are naturally disappointed in the outcome of what was, as the Chairman of the tribunal noted at the end of the hearing, a difficult case.

"The FA has today released a statement regarding Tom Pope's social media activity earlier in the year, with the verdict displayed below:

"'Tom Pope has been suspended for six matches, fined £3,500 and must complete a face-to-face education course for an “Aggravated Breach” of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on 5 January 2020.'

"We are pleased, however, that the tribunal acknowledged that there was no anti-Semitic intent on Tom’s part in posting the tweet concerned.  Indeed, it was never even asserted by the Football Assertion that Tom held such beliefs, nor that he had any such intent when posting the tweet, as the tribunal points out in its decision.

"Tom wishes to re-emphasise that he is a strong supporter of all efforts to eradicate discrimination from the game and apologises to anyone who was offended by his Tweet, albeit he did not intend any offence be caused, nor realise why his Tweet might have been offensive at the time.

"Tom removed the Tweet immediately when the sensitivities surrounding it were highlighted to him online.

"Tom and the Club respect the decision in the case, but we do intend to appeal and are seeking advice in this regard."

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