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Aston Villa loanee hit with seven-match ban for racism

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Aston Villa's Aleksandar Tonev, who is currently on loan with Celtic, has been given a seven-match ban for racist comments.

Thomas Starke

The Scottish FA have given Aleksandar Tonev a seven-match ban for "using abusive language of a racist nature" while playing with Celtic. The winger is currently on loan with the Scottish side, and the comments allegedly came in a match against Aberdeen. The comments were apparently directed at defender Shay Logan.

Tonev and Celtic will be appealing the ban, so we should perhaps hold ourselves back from judging too quickly, but it's pretty easy to see that this would be a PR nightmare for both Celtic and Aston Villa if the ban were upheld. Heck, even if it isn't, the public nature of the battle and the fact that a ban has been handed out probably means irreparable damage has already been done.

And if the racist comments are confirmed, there's a pretty good chance we may never see Tonev in a Villa uniform again. He wasn't that great in his time with the club anyway, but Villa would be crazy to run out a player with this sort of record. Even if it made sense from a football perspective, it would be a pretty terrible move to employ such a player. There is absolutely no excuse for racism or discrimination of any kind in the game.

If it turns out, after further investigation, that the comments never happened (an outcome I think of as pretty unlikely. Bans like this aren't handed out without doing some looking into things) then we can talk about the ramifications. But for now, this is pretty bad news in an already terrible week for Aston Villa.