‘I 100% deny the false allegation’ – Rodriguez ‘disbelief’ at racism charge

West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez says he is “in disbelief” after being charged with alleged racial abuse of Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

Cameroon international Bong claimed the incident took place during West Brom’s 2-0 win at The Hawthorns on 13 January.

Rodriguez pinched his nose after they clashed, before Bong told the referee.

West Brom say they will “fully support” the England international, who has until 16 February to respond to the Football Association.

“Absolutely gutted and in disbelief at the situation I find myself in,” Rodriguez tweeted. “I 100% deny the false allegation and will take the correct legal advice to prove my innocence.”

An FA statement said it was alleged Rodriguez “used abusive and/or insulting words which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race”.

Should the striker plead not guilty, the case would be referred to an independent commission.

Referee Martin Atkinson included the incident in his match report to the FA.

Atkinson did not take any action on the pitch but made a note of the incident and consulted fourth official Tony Harrington.

Both Brighton boss Chris Hughton and West Brom counterpart Alan Pardew spoke at length to Atkinson after the match, but after the neither would state the exact nature of the allegation.

Hughton only said: “There was something said to Gaeten Bong by Jay Rodriguez which has been reported to the referee.

“There was an allegation and something which will then go through the correct channels.”

Pardew said at the time: “I know Jay well, and I’ll be surprised if it is anything.”

In a statement released on Thursday, Albion’s director of football administration, Richard Garlick, said: “As a club we remain fully supportive and committed to backing Jay throughout this process.”

Source: BBC NEWS