Noel Whelan has branded former footballers Stuart Ripley and Uno Onwere “disgraceful” after playing their part in banning Leeds United youngster Jordan Stevens from all football-related activities.
Ther former Leeds striker and lifelong fan of the Whites, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, revealed he was fuming with the duo after being used by the Football Association as part of an independent regulatory commission in the case against Stevens.
As confirmed by the FA, the 19-year-old has been handed a six-week ban for breaching rules on gambling, with former professionals Ripley and Onwere part of a three-man commission which came to the ruling.
📰 | #LUFC acknowledge sanctions passed down by the FA to Jordan Stevens
— Leeds United (@LUFC) September 10, 2019
Whelan says it is a disgrace that a young footballer has been handed such a harsh punishment and singled out the former footballers in his criticism of the decision.
He told Football Insider: “The weirdest thing is that it was the two ex-footballers on the panel. Shame on them. How would they feel, put themselves in his shoes, as a young boy, they’re taking his football away from him.
“That is not beneficial for him in his game, that is more detrimental, personally and psychologically. I do not see him being punished by taking his football away, when there’s so much mental health issues out there already, that this is going to be good for his mind. I think it’s disgusting.
“These two football players, who are on the panel and have made this decision, need to be held accountable for this because it’s an absolute disgrace.”
Stevens has only played once for Leeds’ first-team since making the move from Forest Green Rovers back in January 2018, having played 15 times for the League Two side.
He is naturally a central midfielder with the ability to play in a holding role and made his Championship debut against Stoke City back in January, featuring for 14 minutes off the bench.