West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez has been granted an extension until March 9 to respond to his Football Association charge of using racist language, the governing body has announced.
Last Friday, the striker said he was “gutted” and felt “disbelief” after he was charged in the wake of a clash with Brighton striker Gaetan Bong.
He was initially given until tomorrow to respond, but the FA said on Thursday: “Following receipt of an extension application on behalf of Jay Rodriguez, the Chairman of the Regulatory Commission has granted an extension until Friday, March 9 2018 for the player to formally reply to his recent charge.”
If a case against the one-time England international is proven, the 28-year-old would face a minimum five-match ban.
He, however, believes he should have already been cleared.
Footage of the incident at the centre of the allegation shows former Southampton man Rodriguez and Bong arguing and bumping into each other during the January 13 clash. Rodriguez then holds his nose and waves his hand as if to suggest Bong smells.
Bong immediately complained to referee Martin Atkinson, who included the incident in his report, and the defender told French television channel SFR Sport that Rodriguez’s comment was “racist in nature”.
But news of the FA charge on last Thursday, which followed weeks of investigation, was followed by Rodriguez writing on Twitter: “Absolutely gutted and in disbelief at the situation I find myself in. I 100 per cent deny the false allegation and will take the correct legal advice to prove my innocence.”
The FA said he was charged with using “abusive and/or insulting words which included a reference to ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race”.