PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor undecided over future support for Adam Johnson

24 March 2016 08:23

The Professional Footballers' Association is yet to decide whether it will continue to support Adam Johnson after he was sent to prison for six years.

The former Sunderland and England winger was jailed at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor was non-committal when asked if his organisation would still offer support to Johnson, telling Sky Sports News: "That's a question for the management committee.

"At this moment in time we can only be critical of what has happened and have sympathy with the victim and focus on that element of really (her) well-being.

"With regard to Adam Johnson, he's incarcerated for six years, then we will discuss that in a due process of time with my management committee."

The NSPCC on Thursday wrote an open letter to Football Association chairman Greg Dyke saying it is worried football clubs are not taking the issue of child protection as seriously as they should.

The letter, signed by NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless, said the organisation was worried football had a "cultural problem".

It said: "This is not only about one rogue player that behaved badly, but a club that seemingly did not have child protection priorities embedded into their culture.

"It was not equipped to handle these allegations and seemingly did not deal with them appropriately, or indeed seriously.

"Furthermore, it is concerning if this is being forgotten by a club at the top level of football."

The NSPCC said it "would like to work with the FA to hammer home the message that this kind of behaviour should not be tolerated at any level and certainly not brushed under the carpet".

Johnson was suspended by Sunderland after his arrest last March, but returned to training and continued to play for the club until his trial last month.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of sexual activity with a child and one charge of grooming. He was found guilty of another charge of sexual activity with a child, and cleared of a third.

He was sacked by Sunderland straight after his guilty pleas.

Taylor reiterated that he was "as shocked as anybody" at Johnson's guilty pleas.

Taylor said the PFA was doing all it could to educate players.

He said: "We're doing all we can. We work with the FA, with the Premier League and with the Football League and you'd have to say I would suggest that it would be common knowledge with regard to our members with regard to the criminal law in this particular matter.

"From that point of view, though, of course we still need to reinforce it and our programmes, but don't forget with the number of members we have we also do a lot of good for the community as well in social responsibility programmes."

Source: PA