Hartlepool United say Craig Hignett will take his punishment and move on after their manager was banned for two games by the Football Association.
Hignett, pictured, will serve the suspension handed down on Monday and sit in the stands for National League games against Stockport County and Aldershot after Pools issued a statement thanking the FA for giving him a “fair hearing”.
Relating to United’s September clash with Dover which was halted after an allegation of racist abuse, it had been suggested that Hignett had used language to the officials that was “threatening in nature”.
Pools are “pleased” the panel found in their “favour” and Hignett has “accepted the misconduct charge surrounding his words”.
After disagreeing with elements of the report submitted by officials and facing a much longer ban, he’d requested a personal hearing at Wembley so that the ‘extraordinary’ events surrounding the Saturday 21 September fixture could be taken into consideration.
The club statement read: “During what was a very difficult afternoon for Craig, he admitted to the panel that he had said things to the referee and fourth official out of frustration, for which he apologised, but he vehemently denied the nature of his words as put forward by the officials.
“We would like to thank the Football Association for a fair hearing and reiterate that we do not advocate swearing at referees from our staff.
“However, we hope that people can understand the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the fixture, which the club has been seen to deal with in the appropriate manner.”
Hartlepool United fans came together to condemn the alleged racist abuse that marred the Dover game within days. As they watched their side draw 1-1 with Chesterfield three days later, hundreds of supporters held up banners produced by the club declaring ‘Love Pools, Hate Racism’.
The initiative won praise from throughout football as well as from anti-racism campaigners at Kick It Out.
After “utterly” condemning the trouble at Victoria Park following allegations of racist abuse, National League bosses have also vowed to step up efforts to clamp down in Non-League’s top flight.