Former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder Raul Meireles has been slammed an 11-match ban for reportedly spitting at a referee.
The Portuguese international who plies his trade with Fenerbache in Turkey was accused of the allegation following his dismissal in the country’s most ferocious derby against Galatasaray last weekend.
Meireles had confronted referee Halis Ozkahya after he was given a second yellow card and it was claimed then that he spat at the official while also making a homophobic remark.
Speaking after the match, the 29-year-old vehemently denied the claims and vowed to seek redress.
He said: ‘I’m really annoyed at being accused of spitting at the referee. I have an eight year old kid, can you imagine if kids at school start saying your father spat at a ref, this could ruin my reputation in the eyes of my child.
‘I have many gay friends who I deeply respects. The hand gesture I made is directed at the referee caving in to the pressure of the home fans.’
He claimed he is not a prejudiced person and that his hand gesture was by no means a homophobic one.
‘I don’t know what the hand gesture for calling somebody gay is in Turkey but what I did was entirely based around the referee being a coward and bowing to the pressure. The referee’s accusations are outrageous and are defamation, I will be taking legal action against him to prove my innocence’ he retorted.
If the ban sticks, he will be ruled out of action out until the last week of February.