Give Cristiano Ronaldo ‘right punishment’ for phone slap, mother of autistic boy urges FA

‘He can’t get away with it,’ mother says

Thomas Kingsley
Monday 26 September 2022 14:16 BST
Cristiano Ronaldo charged by FA over Everton mobile phone incident

The mother of an autistic boy whose phone was slapped out of his hand by Cristiano Ronaldo has asked how the football star sleeps at night after the incident.

Sarah Kelly said the footballer should not be allowed to “get away with it” and has urged the FA to give Ronaldo the “right punishment” after the footballing body announced the player would be charged for his part in the exchange.

Video footage showed Ronaldo appearing to knock 14-year-old Jacob Kelly’s mobile phone to the ground after Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park, for which the Portuguese player was cautioned by Merseyside Police.

The footballer was charged with “improper and/or violent” conduct by the FA and could face punishment if found guilty following the investigation.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E3 for an incident that took place after Manchester United FC’s Premier League match against Everton on Saturday, 9 April 2022,” the FA said in a statement.

“It is alleged that the forward’s conduct after the final whistle was improper and/or violent.”

Ms Kelly, 37, told the Daily Mirror: “Let's hope he finally gets the right punishment. He can't keep getting away with it. His behaviour is unacceptable.”

Ms Kelly said the FA's action had sparked a fresh wave of abuse against her and her son after they endured “six months of hell” from Ronaldo fans.

She added: “I'm being hounded by people saying I'm dragging it up again but I didn't know anything about it.

“He should have been dealt with six months ago. My son talks about what happened to him every day. He still hasn't had his phone back.”

Ms Kelly, who said police told her Ronaldo paid a £200 fine, claimed she and Jacob had not received a sincere apology from the player. She added: “He offered us to meet him and said he was sorry but said he had done nothing wrong. That's not an apology, that's an insult.”

Merseyside Police said they wanted to fix Jacob's phone before giving it back. A spokesman added: “The phone was kept until the conclusion of the investigation and will be returned shortly.”

In response to the charge against Ronaldo, who has started just once under Erik Ten Hag in the Premier League this season, United said in a statement: “We will be supporting the player.”

“It’s never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing,” Ronaldo said following the incident in April. “Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.

“I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship.”

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