A Swedish referee, Martin Strombergsson, has been banned from officiating for the rest of the 2020 season as punishment for using racist remarks against a Guinea goalkeeper
The Referee Committee of the Swedish Football Federation has found Martin Strombergsson guilty of using an inappropriate and offensive statement towards Ostersunds goalkeeper Aly Keita.
According to reports, Keita reported Strombergsson to the Allsvenskan authorities after he told him “to shut up and go back into his goal so bananas could be thrown at him” during a top-flight game last season.
Following a thorough investigation, the chairman of the referee’s committee in Sweden, Peter Ekstrom announced that the 43-year-old official has been banned from officiating matches for the rest of 2020 as punishment.
“Martin Strombergsson regrets that he had no racist intentions with what he has said,” Ekstrom told Swedish Football Federation website.
“We have no reason to doubt this, but still consider it to be a very inappropriate statement, and it must be obvious that it can be perceived as offensive.
“Based on what has happened, it is not appropriate for Martin Strombergsson to judge any matches in the league series during the remainder of 2020.”
In his reaction, the Secretary-General of Swedish football governing body, Hakan Sjotrand backed the judgement and praised Keita for reporting such an incident.
“I completely share the Judiciary Committee’s view on the matter. What has happened is very serious, and is contrary to the values of Swedish football – regardless of the intentions, Strombergsson had,” Sjostrand said.
“The Swedish Football Association, as the employer, will give Martin Strombergsson a reminder and work free. It feels good that we have thoroughly investigated the incident and talked to everyone involved – it makes us feel secure in our judgement.
“It is good and important that Aly Keita talked about his experience. We must dare to talk about these issues in Swedish football.”
On Monday evening, Keita was in action for Ostersunds in their 1-0 loss to Mjallby and could not prevent them from conceding their fourth defeat after six games in the Allsvenskan this season.
The 33-year-old goalkeeper was part of the Guinea squad to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, and he made an appearance before their round of 16 exits. He played against Madagascar in a group game that ended in a 2-2 draw