Morecambe midfielder Yann Songo’o has been charged by the Football Association for allegedly spitting a homophobic slur at a rival player.
The 29-year-old French player was handed the red card for his “foul and abusive language” in the 45th minute of the League Two game against Tranmere Rovers on 30 January.
The outburst occurred after a foul that left one of Tranmere’s players injured and requiring treatment. As a huddle formed between the two teams, Songo’o was shockingly heard calling another player a “faggot”.
The FA subsequently launched an investigation into Songo’o’s conduct, announcing on Thursday (11 February) that he had been formally charged for breaching regulations.
Songo’o faces a ban for between six and 12 matches if the charge is upheld under tough new discrimination rules brought in for this season.
The FA said in a statement: “Morecambe FC’s Yann Songo’o has been charged with an ‘aggravated breach’ of FA Rule E3 following their EFL League Two fixture against Tranmere Rovers FC on Saturday, 30 January, 2021.
“It is alleged that the midfielder used abusive and/or insulting language towards an opponent during the 45th minute of the fixture, which is contrary to FA Rule E3.1, and that this constitutes an ‘aggravated breach’, as defined in FA Rule E3.2, because the language included a reference to sexual orientation.
“Yann Songo’o has until Wednesday, February 24, 2021 to provide a response.”
Songo’o was strongly condemned by Rover & Out, an LGBT+ fan group connected to Tranmere. “We are proud of our players’ response in immediately recognising the language was unacceptable,” they tweeted after the match.
“We would like to thank the referee, (Paul Howard), who acted swiftly to remove the player from the pitch and will be contacting him to express our gratitude for his decisive action.
“We will be writing to Morecambe FC to raise our concerns that this incident took place and request information on what they will be doing to avoid such conduct in future.”
Morecambe FC refused to answer for their player at the time, saying they were waiting for a final match report before making any specific comment on the incident.
However, the club again declined to comment on Wednesday (10 February) when approached by the PA news agency.