SAFC's silence over 10 key questions on its handling of the Adam Johnson case
Sunderland AFC is refusing to answer a list of questions posed by the Echo about the club's handling of the Adam Johnson child sex court case.
A club statement issued in the aftermath of Johnson's conviction of one count of grooming and two of sexual activity with a child left many questions unanswered.
As the player awaits sentence, with the judge warning him a hefty jail term is "almost inevitable", we put 10 key questions to the club.
More than 24 hours after they were sent to the Stadium of Light, we still haven't received a reply.
Here are the 10 questions the Echo has put to the club.
1. Adam Johnson said in his trial that during a meeting with Margaret Byrne on May 4, 2015, he admitted grooming and kissing a 15-year-old girl. Do the club accept this happened?
2. If so, knowing the likely outcome of such serious admissions, why did they continue to play Johnson?
3. The statement says that the CEO was only present for part of the May 4 meeting. Given the seriousness of what was being discussed, why was this, and who, if anyone, represented the club in her absence?
4. The club says it refuted in the “strongest possible terms” some of the evidence given by Johnson in court. Why did Margaret Byrne not attend the court to refute those claims when she was given the opportunity by the defence team?
5. Your statement talks about safeguarding measures that were put in place after Johnson’s suspension was lifted. What were those measures and which “relevant” agencies were involved?
6. What was the legal advice which prompted the club to lift Johnson’s suspension after a meeting with the PFA, and was Ellis Short involved in the decision-making process?
7. If Sunderland were not fighting relegation, would the club have continued to play Johnson once his suspension was lifted?
8. Does the club acknowledge any duty of care and compensation to a life-long fan who was abused by one of their employees? And will the club be issuing a formal apology to the victim?
9. Have any further safeguarding or child-protection measures been implemented at the club as a result of the trial?
10. Do the club have any regrets over how it has acted in relation to these matters?