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Sunderland's Ireland international Darron Gibson arrested on suspicion of drink driving

Sunderland player Darron Gibson has been arrested following a car crash just hours before his side were due to play Preston.

Police responded to calls suggesting a car crash had occurred in Dovedale Road in Sunderland just before midday on Saturday.

A statement on the club's website confirmed that Gibson has been suspended with immediate effect, after he "was charged with driving with excess alcohol on Saturday 17 March".

The football club has commenced a full investigation into the matter.

Sunderland AFC’s chief executive, Martin Bain said: “We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our players and should any individual fall short of those standards then robust action must be taken.”

The Derry-born midfielder was handed a 20-month driving ban and ordered to pay almost £6000 in fines when he pleaded guilty to hitting a cyclist while drink-driving and then fleeing the scene back in 2010, with the initial reports on this incident suggesting the individual involved may have been over the legal alcohol limit.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "A 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of driving over the legal alcohol limit and he is currently in police custody.

Sunderland manager Chris Coleman confirmed the 30-year-old was involved as he attended a press conference following his side's 2-0 home defeat against Preston.

"I was told just before the game that there has been an incident," confirmed Coleman. "I don't know exactly. I have heard one or two rumours but until I speak with everybody here to find out exactly what has happened."

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