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New Gillingham manager Steve Evans will serve a four-match touchline ban

Steve Evans will be forced to begin his stint as manager of Gillingham by watching from the stands.

Evans was hit with a four-match touchline ban following an altercation with a referee while managing former club Peterborough.

The Scot was found guilty of two breaches of the FA’s Rule E3 in respect of his conduct at a game against Luton Town on January 19, which his side lost 4-0.

Steve Evans during his visit to Priestfield as Rotherham manager in 2013 Picture: Barry Goodwin
Steve Evans during his visit to Priestfield as Rotherham manager in 2013 Picture: Barry Goodwin

The decision was taken following his sacking by the Posh, a week after the Luton game, and will come into effect when the league season kicks off in August.

Evans was accused of improper conduct in the tunnel area at half-time of the game at Luton’s Kenilworth Road, having been angered about the sending off of defender Ryan Tafazolli by referee David Coote.

The 56-year-old was also accused of ‘using language in the match official's changing room after the game amounting to improper conduct and/or questioning the integrity of the match referee.’

Evans had already served a one-match touchline ban earlier in the season after collecting four yellow cards under the FA's disciplinary code for the conduct of management. One of those bookings came at Priestfield.

His past disciplinary issues went against Evans as an appeal hearing was held. The FA felt an initial one-match ban was ‘unduly lenient’ and it was decided to increase the ban to four matches.

Referee Mr Coote gave his evidence and said that Evans had ‘launched into an incredibly aggressive verbal tirade, yelling and screaming whilst pointing at me between the two stewards.’

The official said that in 300 professional games he had officiated it was ‘the most aggressive in nature behaviour I have experienced from a club official.’

Officials at Luton Town felt it necessary to place a police officer in the tunnel outside the referee’s changing room at the full-time whistle.The police officer asked Mr Evans to leave the tunnel area before Cootes returned to the changing room, according to the fourth official.

Evans’s past disciplinary record was brought up in the hearing, including three previous breaches of the rules which included a one match touchline suspension and £500 fine in 2016, a £1,000 fine for foul and abusive language in 2018 and another £1,000 fine for media comments that same year.

The Commission found that Mr Evans’ record aggravated the charges.

Evans’ plea in mitigation was that it was a difficult day for him for personal reasons and that he feared the sack.

The appeals board stated that “Mr Evans’ disciplinary record demonstrates that his behaviour was not in fact out of character, even if this occasion might be regarded as a more extreme manifestation of that which had happened before.

“Second, the way in which Mr Evans behaved, both in relation to the facts which gave rise to Charge 1 and to Charge 2, demonstrate that far from being out of control, he actually maintained a serious measure of control throughout.

“For example, in relation to Charge 1, he deliberately avoided using swear words; and in relation to Charge 2, he was careful in his answer to the question about whether there was any challenge to the Referee’s integrity.

“In our judgment, those factors are sufficient to negate any suggestion that Mr Evans’s personal circumstances were wholly or substantially the cause of the way in which he behaved on 19th January 2019.”

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