West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez will not face punishment for an alleged racist incident against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Gulls’ Gaetan Bong claimed that Rodriguez racially abused him during a Jan. 13 match, and Rodriguez was charged by the Football Association.
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Fired manager Alan Pardew reportedly spoke up for Rodriguez at the hearing, after which the charge was found to be “not proven.”
The club released a statement following the verdict, with West Brom director of football administration Richard Garlick saying:
“Everyone at the Club is delighted for Jay because this has been a trying period for him. He has always maintained his innocence and we are naturally pleased the Commission has dismissed the charge.”
Six matches do not a season make but, in the high-pressure world of Premier League relegation battles, they can feel like an eternity.
And so it goes that with West Bromwich Albion one point above the drop zone and winless in six tries with manager Pepe Mel at the helm, questions abound regarding his job status. The noise was loud enough that Baggies leadership was called into action, and sporting and technical director Richard Garlick issued a statement on the situation at the Hawthorns.
“At present, we are going through a period of transition, which is natural following the appointment of a new head coach. There is also a lot of frustration at our league position and run of form. I would be more concerned if there wasn’t.
“Various meetings have been held within the football department over the past few days to discuss our current situation and what needs to be done to improve results in our final 11 games.
“The discussions have proved constructive. There has been a lot of soul searching and it is clear everyone has a real hunger and desire to keep the Club in the Premier League,”
Apparently, senior players on the team like the 50-year-old Mel, but want to revert to the club’s previous counterattacking style in lieu of the current manager’s desire to play a high-pressure system.
It’s important to note that while they have not won under Mel, the Baggies have drawn four of six matches including home matches against Everton, Liverpool and Chelsea. Their losses were away to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace.
While it’s rarely too early to push a panic button in the Premier League, West Brom has more than a week to prepare for a visit from Manchester United in a tricky and pivotal time. A crisis decision may come that is not an indication of whether Mel could succeed long-term, rather his odds for keeping the Baggies in the big money top flight.