Rodriguez relieved with racial abuse verdict

The English striker faced a five-match suspension if he was found guilty by the FA

The English striker faced a five-match suspension if he was found guilty by the FA

Having become entangled in a messy, potentially disastrous altercation with Brighton & Hove Albion's Gaetan Bong, the FA declared that an accusation claiming Rodriguez had racially abused Bong was rendered "not proven" earlier this week.

Former Albion boss Alan Pardew spoke in Rodriguez's favour at the hearing and the England global also received character references from Mauricio Pochettino, who he played under at Southampton, and Eddie Howe, who was his manager at Burnley.

The FA announced on Friday that the Independent Regulatory Commission "determined that on the balance of probabilities the allegation was not proven" against Rodriguez.

The £12m former Southampton and Burnley striker is now clear to see out the season after escaping a possible five-match ban if found guilty.

The FA had used lip-reading experts to determine what Rodriguez said to Bong when they clashed during the Premier League game.

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He then added some western powers think that they should interfere in Syria's internal affairs under any condition. The two presidents exchanged views on settlement of the Syrian crisis, according to the message.

Rodriguez last night issued a statement on Twitter.

The 26-year-old said, "It has been a hard and strained period for me and my family because this allegation brought a serious and damaging slur on my character".

Rodriguez said he bears Bong "no ill will" but is "disappointed" that the Cameroon global "chose to publicly condemn me" before the tribunal had finished.

Baggies' director of football administration Richard Garlick, who attended the hearing, said: "Everyone at the club is delighted for Jay because this has been a trying period for him".

"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".

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