While the Football Association continue to look into events surrounding the pitch invasion which led to the abandonment of Huddersfield Town’s match at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston has been punished on another matter involving disgruntled fans.
Oyston will serve a six-week ban from all football activity for the text-message exchange in which he branded one club supporter “a retard”, the FA have announced.
The FA has levied sanctions on Oyston for the ‘abusive and insulting text messages’ he sent Seasiders fan Stephen Smith back in November and which emerged in the public domain one month later.
Oyston’s attempt to have the charge dismissed on account of the fact it was a private matter was rebuked in May and he will now begin a ban on July 8 until August 18.
That six-week period is the same length former Wigan chairman Dave Whelan served at the start of the year for his comments about Jewish and Chinese people.
Tangerines chairman Oyston has also been handed a fine of £40,000, ordered to attend a mandatory education session and warned about his future conduct.
The FA explained that, under the terms of his ban, Oyston is unable to attend any Blackpool fixtures and must refrain from entering Bloomfield Road for the period two hours before kick-off and two hours after full-time on matchdays.
Oyston is not required to resign from his position as a director with the Seasiders and also has the right to appeal the punishment.
After his mobile number was posted on a social media website, Oyston became embroiled in a row with Smith seven months ago that included a series of disparaging comments, with the former telling the fan to “enjoy the rest of your special needs day out”.
Oyston later apologised for his role in the exchange in a statement published on the club’s official website, claiming he was remorseful for “stooping to the level of those threatening and abusing my family”.
The FA began investigating the incident and first charged Oyston with five breaches of FA Rule E3(1) on March 23, giving him seven days to respond to the charge.
That charge was challenged by Oyston, who argued it should be quashed because the text messages were sent “privately” - a claim an arbitral tribunal rejected in late May, allowing the FA to press on with its disciplinary proceedings.
Oyston therefore admitted the five breaches of FA Rule E3(1) last week and his punishment was determined at a hearing on Tuesday.
Once the ban begins in four weeks, it will prevent the 47-year-old from fulfilling his duties as Blackpool chairman for the six-week period and in Oyston’s absence Neil McDonald’s side face a challenge to swell a squad that currently contains only 11 professionals
Current Wigan chairman David Sharpe was appointed to a role on the board before Whelan’s ban was meted out, yet Blackpool’s boardroom has less unity given Oyston has been at loggerheads with president Valeri Belokon.
Town’s final match of the Championship season at Blackpool was abandoned after a pitch invasion by home supporters.
It was 0-0 two minutes into the second half at Bloomfield Road when fans protesting about the running of Blackpool by chairman Karl Oyston went onto the playing surface.
Referee Mick Russell immediately took the players off the pitch.
There was a tannoy announcement 19 minutes later that he wanted to continue the match, but fans refused to move from the centre circle.
Police and stewards made no attempt to move them away and, after one hour and nine minutes, police moved to the edge of the pitch.
Four minutes later it was finally announced the match was abandoned for safety reasons and people were asked to leave the stadium.
The match has been declared a 0-0 draw by the Football League and will not be replayed, but the FA are still looking into events surrounding the postponement.