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Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson removed from FIFA 16 game

By Tom Wilkinson

Published 04/03/2016

Adam Johnson could face a lengthy custodial sentence
Adam Johnson could face a lengthy custodial sentence

Adam Johnson has been removed from one of the world's most popular computer games.

EA Sports, makers of Fifa 16, said the footballer who was facing jail over child sex offences has been taken out of the active rosters of Sunderland and England.

The games giant was working on removing him from other modes of the game "as soon as possible".

The move followed calls from customers that the shamed 28-year-old should not be part of a game so popular with children.

Johnson was sacked by Sunderland and dropped by his boot sponsor adidas when he admitted grooming and kissing a 15-year-old fan.

He was told on Wednesday that a jail term was "almost inevitable" after a jury convicted him of a more serious charge of sexual activity with a child.

EA Sports said: "Adam Johnson has been removed from the active rosters of both Sunderland and England in FIFA 16.

"We're working to remove him from other modes within the game as soon as possible."

The game uses real-life statistics to update players' form over the internet every week, making the game more realistic. That means the next update can wipe him from that part of the game.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Johnson may be locked up in top-security Frankland prison with notorious child killers Ian Huntley and Levi Bellfield.

The jail in Durham houses 808 category A and B prisoners serving four years or more, and would be near the winger's family.

Judge Jonathan Rose indicated the starting point for his offending was five years.

Johnson could receive "vulnerable prisoner" status due to the nature of his crimes, which would make him a target inside.

A former Frankland inmate said Johnson's fame and wealth may help.

"Money goes a long way," he said. "People will be trying to be his friend. Celebrities on the outside say there's always a hidden agenda, it's the same thing in there.

"He can use his money in there to make him more comfortable, or he may get extorted if he is not strong enough."

Huntley, Bellfield and the African warlord Charles Taylor, convicted of crimes against humanity, are kept away from the regular prisoners, the former inmate said. And he expected Johnson will be too.

"He will be on a favourable wing, where he doesn't mix with the general population."

Sunderland supporters among the prisoners may continue to laud him, but rival Newcastle United fans inside "are going to be pushing his buttons".

Should Johnson want to play football Frankland has five-a-side pitches, one inside and a smaller one outside.

"The talent level when I was there was exceptional," the former inmate said. "I wished they played football every day, but we could only play twice a week due to staff levels."

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