Newcastle legend Beardsley takes leave amid bullying claims

Newcastle great Peter Beardsley has agreed to a period of gardening leave while the club looks into accusations of racism and bullying levelled at him in his role as the club's Under-23 coach.

The 56-year-old former England and Liverpool star - who made over 250 appearances for Newcastle over two spells at the club - has been accused of bullying by 22-year-old midfielder Yasin Ben El-Mhanni.

The claims are backed by several of his teammates.

It later emerged accusations had also been made by other players against Beardsley, who has been in his present position since 2009.

Beardsley, who won two league titles and the FA Cup in a highly successful time as a Liverpool player, issued a statement through his lawyers denying the claims.

"Peter Beardsley is aware of inaccurate media reports which result from unauthorised leaks," read his statement.

"Allegations of unfair treatment have been made, which are currently being investigated.

"Peter Beardsley categorically denies the allegations. It is hoped the investigation will conclude quickly. - AFP