Jay Rodriguez cleared of racially abusing Brighton defender Gaetan Bong

Jay Rodriguez has been cleared of racially abusing Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong.

Rodriguez was charged in January with using racist language towards Bong after the players became involved in a heated altercation during a Premier League match at the Hawthorns.

Rodriguez pinched his nose as the players clashed, with Bong alleging the English forward said: “You are black and you stink.”

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But Rodriguez denied the allegation against him and requested a personal hearing with the FA on Wednesday, where his charge of discriminatory misconduct was found “not proven” by an Independent Regulatory Commission.

West Brom published a statement immediately after Rodriguez was cleared, welcoming the verdict.

“Everyone at the Club is delighted for Jay because this has been a trying period for him,” said Richard Garlick, the club’s Director of Football Administration.

“He has always maintained his innocence and we are naturally pleased the Commission has dismissed the charge.”

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In a statement published on Friday afternoon, the FA insisted that Bong’s allegation was made “in absolute good faith”.

“The FA wishes to stress that there has been no suggestion by any party involved in this case that this was a malicious or fabricated complaint,” the statement read. “The FA is completely satisfied that this was a complaint made in absolute good faith.

“The FA takes all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and continues to encourage all participants who believe that they have been the subject of or witness to discriminatory abuse to report this through the appropriate channels.

“The FA would like to express its full thanks to all parties for their full cooperation during the disciplinary process.”