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£750k payout for Sunderland football chief Margaret Byrne who quit over 'error' in child grooming scandal

By Staff Reporter

The Northern Ireland-born chief executive of Sunderland Football Club reportedly received a £750,000 payment after quitting in the wake of the Adam Johnson scandal.

Margaret Byrne, who is from Co Armagh, resigned last March after taking responsibility for the gross mishandling of the case.

She admitted a "serious error of judgment" in allowing the England winger to continue playing for the club - despite being aware that he had kissed and groomed a 15-year-old schoolgirl nine months before he went on trial in February 2016.

Yesterday, the Daily Mail reported that Sunderland owner Ellis Short made a payment of around £750,000 to Ms Byrne after her resignation.

In a statement released after she quit, Ms Byrne said that Short had been aware only of the "broad nature" of the allegations against Johnson and "not the detail I was personally privy to".

The payment is set to feature in the latest set of Sunderland's accounts, which are expected to be made public at the end of this month.

Ms Byrne has since set up the football agency First For Players, which helped to broker Yannick Bolasie's £25m summer switch from Crystal Palace to Everton.

Ms Byrne became Sunderland chief executive in July 2011.

Aged 31 at the time, she was one of the youngest chief executives in English top-flight football

Educated at university in both Belfast and London, she had previously worked as a lawyer and company secretary.

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