Monday 22 July 2019

Bong stands over claim

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Brighton defender Gaetan Bong has admitted that it's 'not easy' to move on from the FA's decision to clear West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez of allegations of racial abuse.

But the Cameroon international says that he wants to repay Brighton for their support by helping to keep the club in the Premier League.

Bong claimed that Rodriguez made comments towards him during their Premier League meeting in January, but an independent FA panel concluded that "on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven."

Rodriguez duly said it was a false allegation from Bong, but the Brighton player stands over his claims.

In a statement released through his club yesterday, the 29-year-old said that his character was being brought into question and his conscience was entirely clear.

The French-born player then flew to Dublin for a Three Ireland EStars event in Tallaght where he reiterated that stance and admitted that it was important for him to make his views heard.

"They made a decision and this decision is not going to put me down or shut me down," said Bong.

"I'm a man, I like respect and I think I respect everyone. I've said what I should say and it's done.

"I move on. It might look easy but it's not easy for me. But I have to do it for the club, for the people who support me and who like to see me playing football. I have something more important to do."

The player said he was heartened by the support of his manager Chris Hughton, his fellow team-mates and former colleagues from around the football world.

"I have a lot of people behind me, a lot of messages," he said. "I can just say 'thanks'. The club was there, the manager and people from England, France, Greece.

"And the thing I want to give to Brighton and for everyone who supports Brighton is just to have the club stay in this league. I am focused on that."

Irish Independent

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