CRAIG HIGNETT, the Hartlepool United manager, has been given a two-game touchline ban.

Hignett was at a disciplinary hearing at Wembley Stadium today after being charged with two counts of misconduct during Pools recent home defeat against Dover Athletic.

He was sent from the dug out by referee Joseph Johnson in the second-half when Pools were denied a penalty after Gime Toure was felled in the penalty area.

A charge under FA Rule E3 followed, which is of improper conduct including any or combination of violent conduct, serious foul play, threatening, abusive, indecent words or behaviour.

It is understood that Hignett admitted the charges, but was not in agreement with the events reported by the match officials and language they claimed he used.

A club statement confirmed: “As part of the charge brought against Craig, it had been suggested by the officials that he had used language which questioned their integrity and was threatening in nature.

“During what was a very difficult afternoon for Craig, he admitted to the panel that he had said things to the Referee and Fourth Official out of frustration, for which he apologised – but he vehemently denied the nature of his words as put forward by the officials.

“We are pleased that the panel found in the Club’s favour on this issue and, having accepted the misconduct charge surrounding his actual words, Craig will now begin a two-game touchline ban.

“We would like to thank The Football Association for a fair hearing and reiterate that we do not advocate swearing at referees from our staff. However, we hope that people can understand the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the fixture, which the Club has been seen to deal with in the appropriate manner.’’

The two-game suspension means he will be in the stands for Pools game at Stockport on Wednesday evening, and the trip to Aldershot on Saturday. It means Ged McNamee, Antony Sweeney and Ross Turnbull will be in the dug out for the games. 

The FA is still investigating events from the game, asking both clubs for their version of events after racist abuse was directed at Dover players when they celebrated their first goal and an individual entered the field of play from the Neale Cooper Stand to complain to the referee.

Cleveland Police are also investigating and have made one arrest, a 43-year-old man on suspicion of racially aggravated public order. He was released under investigation while inquiries continue.

A 60-year-old man was also reported for summons after allegedly making his way onto the pitch during the game.