Brighton have given Gaetan Bong their “full support” after the defender accused West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez of racially abusing him during Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at the Hawthorns.
Footage of the incident, which took place during the second half of the match, shows the pair arguing and bumping into each other, before Rodriguez holds his nose and waves his hand as if to gesture Bong smells. It is not clear what was said, however.
Clearly annoyed, Bong immediately complained to match official Martin Atkinson and the referee included the complaint in his report.
After the game, the 29-year-old Cameroonian posted a comment on his official Twitter feed: “Some words should not be said on a football field and specially not by players Rodriguez words are unforgivable for the man I am!!”
The Football Association confirmed on Sunday that it is investigating the matter and, later that evening, Bong appeared on French television channel SFR Sport to say Rodriguez’s comment was “racist in nature”.
In a statement released on Monday, Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said: “Gaetan has the full support of everyone at the club through this process.
“The club will also assist the Football Association in their investigation, but at this stage we would prefer not to make any further comment until this process has concluded.”
The FA has given no timescale for its investigation but it is understood that it will take at least a week.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Brighton manager Chris Hughton said he was aware of the allegation but it was dealt with “in the correct manner” and was for the FA to deal with.
Baggies boss Alan Pardew said he had not seen the incident but found it “very difficult” to believe that Rodriguez, who has one England cap, would make a racist comment.
“Jay Rodriguez claims that the allegation, whatever the allegation is, is untrue,” Pardew added.
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