Sunderland suspend Darron Gibson after midfielder is charged with drink driving
Sunderland have suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect after the midfielder was charged with driving with excess alcohol.
Gibson is alleged to have been involved in a crash which wrecked a number of vehicles on Saturday morning, hours before Sunderland's 2-0 home defeat to Preston North End.
The incident happened on Dovedale Road in Seaburn at 11.55am on Saturday.
A club statement read: "Sunderland AFC has suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect, after the player 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."
Witnesses said Gibson was in one of the cars when the collision happened and was put into a police car after officers made their initial inquiries.
Vehicles damaged include a Mercedes 4x4, another Mercedes and a white Seat.
Gibson was pictured speaking to a police officer in the street, which is just a short distance away from the club's training ground, the Academy of Light.
The Echo understands the midfielder, who hasn't played since New Year's Day due to a groin injury, was driving towards the training ground to meet up with other team mates ahead of the game against Preston.
All injured players and those not selected in the matchday squad are still required to attend home games.
The Echo understands Gibson has been suspended on full pay. Under UK employment law, suspended employees are entitled to full pay while internal investigations are carried out.
Sunderland have confirmed they have launched their own full investigation into the matter.
This is not the first time Gibson has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
In July last year Gibson caused controversy when he was filmed making "making foul-mouthed and derogatory comments" about his team and fellow players.
The 30-year-old player joined Sunderland in January last year on an 18-month deal after playing for Everton over a five-year stretch.
The Republic of Ireland international is out of contract in the summer.
He started training again last week following a groin injury but was still three weeks away from a return to first team action before he was suspended.
A Northumbria Police statement said: "A 30-year-old man has been charged with driving while over the legal alcohol limit following reports of a collision in Dovedale Road, Sunderland, on Saturday, March 17, at about 11.55am.
"Darron Gibson, of Hale, Manchester, has been bailed to appear at South Tyneside Magistrates Court on April 17."