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Oct 29, 2009

King set to appeal

Marlon King's agent has suggested the striker is ready to appeal against the 18-month prison sentence he was given today, and his subsequent sacking by Wigan too.

• King jailed for 18 months for nightclub assault

The Jamaica international was sacked by the Latics after he was found guilty of sexual assault and actual bodily harm over an incident in a London nightclub, which occurred in December while he was on loan at Hull.

King spent a subsequent spell on loan at Middlesbrough before returning to the Latics in the summer, but he will now be left without a club after a mandatory notice period has expired.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan today confirmed King will never play for the club again following his conviction. But the player's agent, Tony Finnegan, said plans for appeals against both his sentence and his sacking are in place.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "No one saw this coming in light of the evidence. He's very, very disappointed - because clearly, as he said in his evidence, it's mistaken identity. He didn't do that.

"He'll be devastated, sitting in a cell with someone tonight. But he's a grown man; he's been there before and he'll take it on the chin.

"No one expected this. I asked Marlon and he said 'I'm not guilty, Tony - I didn't do it. I want the British justice system to find me not guilty'.''

Finnegan expressed disappointment at Wigan's decision and the failure of the Professional Footballers' Association to support King, before questioning what might happen if the striker is released early.

"There was a union that didn't seem to back him in the shape of Bobby Barnes this afternoon and the chairman of a professional football club that is going to say to everybody throughout Britain that this man will never play football again,'' he added.

"The chairman's got a choice. If the chairman, which is his right, decides to sack Marlon King under gross misconduct, he would have to put that in writing, first and foremost. Then he has a right of appeal to the Premier League, in writing.

"While the appeal process goes in, which will be on Monday, this lad could be out in two, three weeks, four weeks; then those bail conditions will be subject to him being in his house.

"If Wigan aren't successful in sacking this player and he comes out in three months' time and he wanted to be signed by another Premiership club, do Wigan allow him to go for nothing or do they seek a fee?''

Earlier, PFA deputy chief executive Barnes admitted King had brought the situation on himself.

"I don't think anybody can deny that [he brought it on himself],'' Barnes told Sky Sports News. "But I think it's important to bear in mind footballers are not divorced from society.

"They come from society, and people in society from all sorts of jobs will fall foul of the law. I don't think it's really appropriate to be looking too much at Marlon's situation.

"In a situation such as this, there is somebody who is the victim of that crime - and I think the one thing that Marlon will have over the next weeks and months is time to reflect and look back on the situation he's found himself in.

"I really don't think that looking toward his future football career would be something at the top of his mind at the moment - or necessarily ours. There are all sorts of reasons why he may not be able to or may not desire to play again.

"It's something that will come to the fore when he does come towards the end of his sentence. Dave Whelan has made the point that he as a chairman would not employ him. I'm sure there will be other chairmen who would share that view.

"In my experience there are generally clubs out there who will say 'he's served his time, we'll have a look at him'.''

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor defended the organisation's stance on King, saying they were under no obligation to stand by players who break the law. Taylor said the PFA had not even been approached by King and were not obliged to support him.

In a statement on the PFA website, Taylor said: "The PFA does not represent players when they have broken the law and been convicted on non-footballing matters. Nevertheless, should any member with anger management or other issues approach us for assistance we are always happy to provide that assistance through the Sporting Chance Clinic as has been the case with other such high profile cases.

"We have never been approached by Marlon King or his representatives for such assistance and are therefore unable to rely on any information other than the conviction and sentencing yesterday."

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