West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez says he is “in disbelief” after he was found guilty of racially abusing Brighton’s Gaetan Bong and charged by the Football Association.
Rodriguez had been accused of using racist language towards Bong during a January 13th Premier League match between the two sides at the Hawthorns.
If the charge goes through, Rodriguez would face a minimum five-match ban. However, the 28-year one-time England international cannot believe he wasn’t cleared.
Footage of the incident at the centre of the allegation shows Rodriguez and Bong arguing and bumping into each other. Rodriguez then holds his nose and waves his hand as if to gesture Bong smells.
Bong then immediately complains to the referee Martin Atkinson, who detailed the incident in his post-match report. Bong then told French television channel SFR Sport that Rodriguez’s comment was “racist in nature”.
Rodriguez took to Twitter to express his disbelief after being charged, which followed weeks of FA investigations.
Twitter: Absolutely gutted and in disbelief at the situation I find myself in. I 100% deny the false allegation and will tak… https://t.co/HKGjF2clZT (@JayRodriguez9)
The FA said he was charged with using “abusive and/or insulting words which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race”.
Rodriguez has until February 16 to formally respond to the charge, and West Brom have pledged to stand by him.
Cameroonian defender Bong posted a since-deleted comment on his own Twitter feed after the match against West Brom, writing: “Some words should not be said on a football field and specially not by players Rodriguez words are unforgivable for the man I am!!”