By Alex Stevens
Sunderland have sacked Adam Johnson after he pleaded guilty to child sex offences this week.
The 28-year-old winger shocked club officials on Wednesday when he admitted one count of grooming and one of sexual activity with a 15-year-old schoolgirl. His trial at Bradford Crown Court on two further counts of sexual activity begins on Friday morning.
Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce confirmed earlier on Thursday that Johnson would not play in the Premier League against Manchester United on Saturday, but the situation quickly escalated and senior club officials took the decision to terminate his £60,000-a-week contract on Thursday night.
The news came hours after sports manufacturer adidas terminated their boot sponsorship with Johnson, saying in a statement: “Adidas can confirm that it has terminated its contract with footballer Adam Johnson with immediate effect. This follows his guilty pleas entered earlier this week.”
Adidas’s deal to supply Sunderland’s kit is not affected as Johnson’s £10,000-a-year boot contract was a separate endorsement.
The club’s main sponsors are also declining to comment until the conclusion of his trial.
Allardyce said last week that the 28-year-old would feature for the first team throughout his trial, but at the time believed the player would plead not guilty to all four charges.
Johnson now faces the prospect of a prison term with guidelines on sentencing for the grooming offence giving a maximum of two years and six months.