Jay Rodriguez eager to move on after FA hearing
By Ismail Khwaja
Last Updated: 16/04/18 6:47pm
West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez says he is relieved after the Football Association found no evidence that he had racially abused Brighton's Gaetan Bong.
It was alleged the 28-year-old racially abused the Brighton defender when the sides met in January, but the FA announced on Friday that the allegation was not proven against Rodriguez.
In a statement posted on the striker's official Twitter account, he said: "It has been a difficult and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character.
"It has been equally difficult to remain silent throughout the FA process but I do wish to express firstly my relief that I have been exonerated and secondly my support for the fight against racism in whatever form it is expressed.
"I have maintained my innocence from the moment Gaetan Bong made the allegation. I bear him no ill will but I was disappointed that he chose to publicly condemn me on the platforms of open media before the evidence had been presented to an independent tribunal.
"Now that I have been cleared, I would like to emphasise so there can be no doubt that I did not utter the words of which I was accused. I did not use any language that alluded to race and I can only repeat my view that Gaetan misheard our exchange during the game.
"I am grateful for all the colleagues and former managers and coaches who up for me at the hearing. I would also like to thank West Bromwich Albion, my team mates, the staff and the fans for the fantastic support they have offered me during this unpleasant process.
"Finally, I would like to underline my support for the continuing battle of any forms of discrimination. There is no place for it in any walk of life and I am relieved and pleased that after an exhaustive, thorough and fair process, I am cleared of this stain on my character and reputation."