Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse has apologised to Manchester United defender Jonny Evans as the Football Association carries out an investigation into an alleged spitting incident.
Television replays suggested the pair had spat towards each other during Wednesday night’s Barclays Premier League clash between the Magpies and the Red Devils at St James’ Park after Cisse had reacted angrily to a tackle by Evans.
The Senegal international said in a statement: “I have apologies to make to a lot of people today. Firstly to my team-mates and to our supporters, secondly to Jonny Evans, and thirdly to every football fan who saw the incident between myself and Jonny.”
Cisse added: ``I reacted to something I found very unpleasant. Sometimes it is hard not to react, particularly in the heat of the moment. I have always tried hard to be a positive role model, especially for our young fans, and yesterday I let you down.
“I hope children out there playing football for their clubs and schools this weekend will know better than to retaliate when they are angry. Perhaps when they see the problem it now causes me and my team, they will be able to learn from my mistake, not copy it.”
The two men clashed towards the end of the first half with Cisse in particular reacting furiously before referee Anthony Taylor, who had originally waved play on, arrived on the scene.
Mr Taylor was facing in the opposite direction as he followed play with events unfolding behind him, but FA disciplinary chiefs viewed footage of the incident on Thursday as they awaited the official’s report.
Players found guilty of spitting face a mandatory six-game ban, and with Cisse having already served a three-match suspension for violent disorder this season, any penalty if he is charged and found guilty is likely to be increased.