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Town hit back in Tehoue race row
SWINDON Town have once again backed manager Paolo Di Canio in the wake of accusations of racial abuse, saying former Robins loanee Jonathan Tehoue is using the claims to “justify his own failings”.
A story emerged on the BBC Sport website yesterday, stating that Town privately apologised to Tehoue for what the club’s solicitors were quoted as calling an “inappropriate” remark, reported to have been made by Di Canio in March.
The Advertiser understands Tehoue was not privvy to the alleged comment, although it was relayed to him by a third party, as he had failed to turn up for training with the Robins.
The foundation for the BBC article came from leaked correspondence between Swindon’s solicitors and lawyers acting on behalf of the Frenchman, which preceded the club’s own internal investigation.
Town’s hierarchy eventually found the claims to be “without merit”, as they stressed in a statement on May 15 when the whole episode first came to light.
Last night, Swindon issued another statement in which they said that extracts lifted from the correspondence between the legal representatives on either side were “premature and have been taken out of context”.
Furthermore, it went on to question the striker’s motives.
“The BBC report further relies upon an unattributed and unsubstantiated assertion to justify Mr Tehoue's apparent decision to absent himself from training at Swindon Town in circumstances when nothing could be more further from the truth,” it said.
“Our success this past season owes much to the rigorous training regime implemented by Mr Di Canio for all our players and that Mr Tehoue was unable or unwilling to follow to it, says more about him than our manager and this alone accounted for the player no longer being included in team affairs.
“The player's decision to walk away from training is clearly in breach of his obligations to the club and the standard terms of his Football League contract of employment and the club delayed taking action against him until it had properly investigated the issue.
“We are satisfied absolutely that any decisions taken concerning Mr Tehoue's future at our club were based purely on footballing reasons and indeed, when having to respond to questions from the media about the player, Mr Di Canio was conscious of the need to protect the player's interests at all times.
“It is our deeply held suspicion that the player is using this claim to justify his own failings and divert blame to our manager who has achieved so much in the first year of his tenure at Swindon Town.”
The Football Association told the Advertiser on Friday that their investigation into the matter has no set deadline for completion and Town’s interim chairman, Jeremy Wray, admitted it could be a while until the saga is put to bed.
“We realise and appreciate that it takes a long time to call on all the facts, and we will support the FA in their inquiries,” he said.