Balestier midfielder Raihan cleared of misconduct charge
Raihan Rahman had a huge weight lifted off his shoulders last night.
Exactly a month after being accused of using a racial slur in a Great Eastern-Hyundai S.League game and subsequently charged with misconduct, the tough-tackling Balestier Khalsa midfielder was acquitted of that charge after a Football Association of Singapore Disciplinary Committee (DC) hearing at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
The 26-year-old told The New Paper that he felt vindicated, but demanded an apology from Warriors FC foward Jordan Webb, who had made the claims against him.
"I want him to apologise to my club and to me," said Raihan.
"Because for one month, this issue kept playing on my mind and affected me a lot.
"I want to thank my club chairman, teammates, coaches, family, friends and fiancee because all of them backed me throughout.
"I'm happy this nightmare is over, and I can focus on my football again."
Webb, a Canadian, had claimed that Raihan allegedly called him a "n*****" in the 75th minute of his team's 2-1 win over Balestier at the Toa Payoh Stadium on Feb 28.
The incident was later included in Warriors team manger Eugene Cheang's report that has to be submitted within 48 hours of a game, setting in motion the charge that was eventually levelled at Raihan.
Yesterday was the second time the three-man DC had convened to discuss the case.
Raihan and Webb both faced the DC on March 16, but the case was adjourned as the panel wanted to hear from more witnesses from the game.
K Bala Chandran, who chaired the DC, explained last night: "We decided to acquit (Raihan) of the charge and gave him the benefit of doubt because the evidence was not conclusive.
"Having heard both parties and their witnesses, all three members of the DC were left with some doubts over what happened."
Raihan will now be available for selection for Balestier's next S.League match against Garena Young Lions at the Toa Payoh Stadium on Sunday.