TORONTO — Forge FC assistant coach Peter Reynders says he will appeal his 45-day suspension for alleged racist comments after the Canadian Championship qualifying-round game against visiting Cavalry FC on June 4.
Several Cavalry FC players accused Reynders of making racist statements after a post-match melee. Reynders was serving as interim head coach while Bobby Smyrniotis was completing a coaching course in Europe.
On Monday, the Canada Soccer Association’s disciplinary committee found Reynders guilty of breaching its code of conduct and ethics, suspending him for 45 days from all soccer-related activities.
“The disciplinary committee reaffirms that there is a zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination within the game,” the CSA said in a statement.
Reynders issued a statement Tuesday, denying the allegations. He said he was trying to act as a peacemaker during “an unfortunate conclusion to the match.”
“I have over 30 years experience as a soccer coach and have never, nor will ever, use any language that could be perceived as racially insensitive or inappropriate,” he said.
In a separate statement, Forge FC acknowledged the disciplinary ruling and Reynders’ intention to appeal.
“The Forge FC organization has a zero-tolerance policy on matters of racism or discrimination and such actions have never been and will not be tolerated,” it said.
The Canadian Premier League club said it will have no further comment until the appeal process is complete.
The June 4 match in Hamilton ended in a 1-1 tie thanks to a 96th-minute Cavalry FC penalty. The Calgary side won the rematch 2-1 for a 3-2 aggregate victory.