Belfast Telegraph

Disgraced star Jay Donnelly suspended from football by Irish FA

Cliftonville’s Jay Donnelly.
Cliftonville’s Jay Donnelly.

Former Cliftonville striker Jay Donnelly has been suspended by the Irish Football Association.

The 24-year-old has been banned from all football affiliated with the IFA until September 1, 2019 on a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

Donnelly, of Ardilea Drive in north Belfast, was sentenced to three months in prison at Belfast County Court earlier this month, after an appeal judge reduced his original four-month term by a month.

He admitted the charge of sharing an indecent image of a child at Belfast magistrates Court last November.

"The Disciplinary Committee of the Irish FA has today charged Jay Donnelly with a breach of Article 17 of the Articles of Association (Bringing the game of Association Football into disrepute) and suspended him from all affiliated football until 1 September 2019," read a statement from the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee.

"Mr Donnelly has the right to challenge the charge and/or sanction."

Cliftonville sacked the player following his sentencing.

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In June 2016 Donnelly took a photograph of himself having sex with a 16-year-old girl who was wearing a Cliftonville shirt with his name and number on the back.

He shared the image with a friend and with a number of other players on WhatsApp.

It was later leaked on social media.

Donnelly admitted the charge of distributing the image at Belfast Magistrates Court on November 23.

The following day he played in a fixture against the Reds' rivals Linfield.

It is unclear whether Cliftonville knew of the guilty plea at that time. It was his final appearance in the team.

In a statement issued by his solicitor following the conclusion of his appeal, Donnelly said he accepted the court's decision.

"I want to again apologise to the complainant in this case for the hurt that my action caused," he said.

"This will never erase what happened, but I hope that today's outcome provides her with a degree of closure that allows her to move on with her life."

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