Port Vale striker Tom Pope charged by FA over social media post

Port Vale striker Tom Pope is facing the prospect of a further ban relating to social media after being charged with an ‘aggravated breach’ of Football Association rules.

Pope served a one-game suspension last month for “improper” Twitter comments following posts made regarding Manchester City and England defender John Stones, but now faces a more serious charge over a separate matter.

In tweets sent in early January Pope, having been asked to “predict the WWIII result”, wrote: “We invade Iran then Cuba then North Korea then the Rothchilds (sic) are crowned champions of every bank on the planet.”

Pope later deleted the tweet and insisted he was unaware it could be perceived as anti-Semitic, but the post became the subject of both FA and club investigations.

An FA statement said: “Tom Pope has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 in relation to a social media post on 5 January 2020.

“It is alleged that his social media activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was abusive and/or insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.

“It is also alleged that his social media activity constitutes an ‘Aggravated Breach’, which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included a reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or religion and/or ethnic origin.

“The Port Vale forward has until 12 February 2020 to respond.”

Shortly after deleting the tweet, Pope issued a statement apologising for any offence caused.

“Following the reaction to my response on Twitter about the Rothschilds, I was unaware of any link between the Rothchild family and the Jewish community.

“If I have caused offence to anyone, I’d like to apologise enormously as this was never my intention.”

The charge exposes Pope to the risk of a further suspension, with the 34-year-old having already served a one-game ban for “improper” comments posted on Twitter.

That ban, accompanied by a £1,500 fine, was handed down on January 22 but related to a separate matter.

Pope had previously created a storm on social media after his goal in the third-round FA Cup tie against Manchester City backed up his pre-match bravado in a personal battle with City defender John Stones.

Last summer, Pope mocked Stones in a tweet, claiming he would score 40 goals a season if he faced the England international every week, but he followed up his goal by saying it would be “more like 50”.