Referee banned for offensive remarks against Keita


Swedish referee Martin Strombergsson has been found guilty of offensive remarks against Guinean star Aly Keita.

The goalkeeper, who is on the books of Swedish club Ostersunds, reported Strombergsson to the Allsvenskan management after he told him “to shut up and go back into his goal so bananas could be thrown at him,” during a league game last season.

The chairman of the referees’ committee in Sweden, Peter Ekstrom revealed that Strombergsson 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 the Swedish Football Federation.

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“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.”

Hakan Sjotrand, who is the Secretary-General of Swedish football governing body, lauded Keita for reporting Strombergsson.

“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.

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“The Swedish Football Association, as an 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 judgment.

“It is good and important that Aly Keita talked about his experience. We must dare to talk about these issues in Swedish football.”

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Keita, who was born in the Swedish city of Vasteras, has played eight international matches for the Guinea national team.

The 33-year-old has a Guinean father and a Norwegian mother.

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