Sorry Cisse facing long ban
Papiss Cisse has accepted a Football Association charge for allegedly spitting at Manchester United's Jonny Evans and faces a possible seven-match ban.
The Newcastle striker and the Manchester United defender were charged with breaching FA rule E1[a] following an incident in Wednesday night's Barclays Premier League clash between the clubs at St James' Park which was not seen by the match officials.
Cisse's prospective punishment is one game higher than the standard tariff for spitting, due to an earlier suspension for violent conduct this season, when video evidence showed he had elbowed Everton's Seamus Coleman.
But his stance was unsurprising given he released a contrite statement earlier on Thursday, a marked contrast to the position of Evans, who categorically denied spitting at his opponent in an account released by the Red Devils. Evans has until 6pm on Friday to answer his charge.
Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said: "Both ourselves and Papiss agree that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.
"In life, when you do something wrong you have to front up, admit your mistakes and accept the punishment. Papiss was proactive this morning in making a full and heartfelt apology, which he did in advance of any notification from the FA regarding this charge."
Charnley went on to state that Cisse would commit himself to extra work in the local area during his suspension.
"Papiss is known to many of our region's schools, community groups and junior football teams for his involvement in the work of the Newcastle United Foundation," he said.
"He has this evening expressed to us his strong desire to engage in additional community activities during the period of his ban.
"He is particularly keen to use his position as a role model to encourage young and influential fans to engage in sport and learn lessons about the importance of fair play and personal conduct."
Northern Ireland international Evans had earlier defended his own conduct and expressed surprise at the way his part in the incident was reported.
"Having woken up this morning, I am shocked to have seen the media coverage from last night's match," he said.
"I would like to make it clear that I did not spit at Papiss Cisse.
"I was totally unaware of any spitting incident and had assumed that the issue at the time was with the challenge and his attempted retaliation to the tackle from the floor.
"During the game, Papiss Cisse and I spoke about the incident and it is clear by my reaction in the television footage that I was totally surprised by any suggestion of spitting.
"It is not in my character or in my nature to spit at anybody, nor is it something I have ever done or would ever do. It is certainly not something that I did last night."
Cisse's original statement, which came hot on the heels of Evans', struck a different tone.
He said: "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.
"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."
The FA had earlier confirmed that they were taking action against the pair.
Their statement read: "Newcastle United's Papiss Cisse and Manchester United's Jonny Evans have both been charged by the FA following their game yesterday [Wednesday 4 March 2015].
"The charges are in relation to an alleged breach of FA Rule E1[a] in that in or around the 38th minute of the game the two players spat at each other. The incidents were not seen by the match officials but caught on video.
"Both players have until 6pm on Friday 6 March 2015 to respond to the charge."