07/12/2018

Cliftonville Striker Jay Donnelly Excluded From Weekend Match

Irish Premiership footballer Jay Donnelly will not play for Cliftonville for the second week in a row after being convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville manager Barry Gray announced on Thursday that the 23-year-old won't be involved in the match against Glenavon on Saturday 08 December.

He was also not on the pitch at last week's game against Dungannon Swifts.

Donnelly admitted the charge last month and will be sentenced in January 2019.

A second count of taking or making an indecent image was withdrawn.

One day after his guilty plea, Cliftonville picked the striker for a Danske Bank Premiership game against Linfield at Windsor Park.

The Belfast Feminist Network (BFN) criticised the club for the move and said they would stage a protest if they proceeded with the decision.

The protest was later called off when Cliftonville announced that Donnelly would not play.

In a statement last week, Cliftonville said: "We are dealing with a very sensitive and delicate matter."

This week, Mr Gray added: "Nothing has changed. It is what it is. The club have issued a statement and it stands for now.
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"I'm not aware of any other progress or differences than what it was. I'll hear from the board what happens next.

"At the moment we have a stance about what the situation is for now.

"There is an ongoing process in terms of how the club feels it needs to deal with it on and off the pitch."

He added: "The board will do what's best for Cliftonville but obviously it is not just as simple as what everybody makes it out to be.

"They have to think of the player, the club, the board, the team and the wider circle outside of that.

"There is lots to consider. I know it's quite complex and I'm talking from virtually outside it because it's not day-to-day with me and it's the board on behalf of Cliftonville who are dealing with it and make decisions that will be right for Cliftonville."

Mr Gray continued: "The circumstances are outside my control. You just concentrate on the players you have and if things change you deal with it.

"The team has had to deal with a lot of negative attachment. We are just trying to keep them focused to try and get results each week. That's the one constant that won't change for me and the team - the football and getting results.

"It's a very unique situation. You can't sit and feel sorry for yourself. We are just here to win football matches."



(JG)

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