Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty receives 10-match ban over use of sectarian language
Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty has received a 10-match ban from the Scottish Football Association after being caught using sectarian language.
Kilmarnock confirmed the Northern Ireland international has been banned for breaching a rule which forbids the use of insulting language which includes reference to the likes of ethnic origin, race, nationality, religion or belief.
In a social media post which went viral, the 35-year-old appeared to use a sectarian slur in reacting when a man posing for a photo with him said "Up the Celts". In a statement issued by his club, the Northern Ireland international said: "I want to deeply apologise to the club, supporters and my family for the distress caused over the past month.
"I totally acknowledge that my reaction to the incident was completely out of order.
"There is no excuse, it's something that I immediately regretted and have been embarrassed about ever since.
"I absolutely accept that I should not have responded to provocation in that manner."
Lafferty received two charges from the SFA, one involving not acting in the best interests of football and the other charge was one which carries a minimum 10-match ban which can only be reduced “where exceptional circumstances are established”.
His Scottish Premiership club Kilmarnock had already taken action against the striker - who now won't play until 2023.
They issued Lafferty with a “substantial fine” and have been engaging with anti-sectarian charity, Nil By Mouth.
Lafferty will work with the charity and also do weekly community work with his club for the “foreseeable future”.
Lafferty was axed from the Northern Ireland squad for their recent Nations League fixtures against Kosovo and Greece, with manager Ian Baraclough stating that a back injury had also been considered when the decision was made.
The former Motherwell manager claimed the incident was not necessarily the end of Lafferty’s international career.
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