Zulkiffli gets 5-match ban

Balestier Khalsa striker Zulkiffli Hassim has been slapped with a five-match ban and a suspended fine of $1,000 for making racist remarks during an S-League match last month.

He (left) pleaded guilty to the charges during a disciplinary hearing held at the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) headquarters at Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday.

The FAS Disciplinary Committee, consisting of a six-member panel led by chairman K Balachandran, deliberated on the case for an hour before reaching their verdict.

The five-match ban, which will take effect immediately, includes the mandatory two-match suspension that Zulkiffli has already served.

The 26-year-old allegedly used racist words on Woodlands Wellington's Trinidadian defender Fabien Lewis in the dying minutes of Balestier's 2-0 win at the Toa Payoh Stadium on March 18.

He received a straight red card from referee K Kalimuthu after the incident, which led to the initial ban.

The fine of $1,000 is suspended on the provision that the player is not found guilty by the Disciplinary Committee of any further misconduct from now until the end of the season.

Speaking to The New Paper after the verdict was out, Lewis said: "I respect the decision made by the FAS.

"I believe that they were in the best position possible to handle to the situation. "Right now, I'm fully focused on playing well for Woodlands."

Balestier coach Darren Stewart declined to comment on the ban when contacted last night. He would only say: "Zulkiffli has trained under me for a long time.

"I know that he's not a racist person."

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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