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By ESPN Staff

Quinn: Bramble 'strenuously denies' rape claims

Sunderland defender Titus Bramble "strenuously denies any wrongdoing'' after being arrested on suspicion of rape, the club's chairman Niall Quinn said.

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The defender was questioned at a Newcastle police station after he and his brother Tesfaye were held at a city centre hotel. Bramble and his brother were bailed on Wednesday night. They will answer bail on December 2.

Quinn said in a club statement: "This has been a very difficult day for everyone at the football club, no one more so than Titus, who categorically refutes the allegations that have been made against him.

"He strenuously denies any wrongdoing and will be doing everything within his power to clear his name. I as chairman, and the club as a whole, totally support Titus in his efforts and we all hope for a swift conclusion to this matter.''

Bramble, 29, who has previously played for Ipswich Town, Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic, was arrested with his brother Tesfaye, 30, who has played international football for Montserrat, a British island in the Caribbean, and is a striker for Eastern Counties League Premier Division club Leiston, in Suffolk.

They were detained after the alleged rape of a young woman was reported to police in the early hours of Wednesday morning. It is believed the alleged rape happened at the four-star Vermont Hotel, which has an entrance close to bars and nightclubs on Newcastle's quayside.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Police received a report of a rape of a woman at a city centre hotel in Newcastle in the early hours. Two men, aged 29 and 30, have been arrested on suspicion of rape.''

Bramble, a former England Under-21 player, was signed by Sunderland manager Steve Bruce from Wigan for a fee thought to be around £1 million in the summer. A spokesman for the Premier League player's solicitor, Mark Haslam, refused to comment, as did hotel staff.

Bramble is in line to return to action despite his off-field problems.

Manager Steve Bruce said: "He wants to play. He wanted to be in this morning and he wants to go and put the record straight. He wishes he could, but legally we can't. But we want the case resolved and I just want to reiterate what Niall said, that we are all behind him, we are all 100% convinced that he has got nothing to do with this allegation and we will get on with it and hope the conclusion comes quickly.

"He wants to just go and play and forget about it. It's unfortunate, what has happened, but he plays, it's as simple as that.

"All I will say is the disappointment I have is that he shouldn't be out on a Tuesday night in a nightclub, and he knows that. But that's his only offence. The rest of it, we hope that the matter - and I speak for everybody now - can just be dealt with as quickly as possible and will sort itself out quickly, because it needs to.'' pitch, keeping his nose clean and getting on with the game, which is the most important thing.''