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PFA to be there for King

SoccerNews in English Premier League 1 Nov 2009

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Gordon Taylor insists the players’ union will support disgraced footballer Marlon King.

The shamed Wigan striker was given an 18-month prison sentence for sexual assault and actual bodily harm after punching a 20-year-old female student in the face in a nightclub.

King has been sacked by Wigan and pictures of the injuries suffered by the student have now been published in a Sunday newspaper.

Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, said: “Everybody in life can have big problems to face and this is probably his biggest and I hope he’s able to overcome it and if he needs help to get his life back on track I assure you we’ll be there for him.

“We will be pleased to give any of our members who has got problems support to get his life and his career back on track.

“We have a known record for that. I think we’ve got almost 50 cases in the past few years where such help has been requested and been given and for the most part we’re pleased to say it has been successful.”

Former Arsenal player Tony Adams and Newcastle’s Joey Barton are two high-profile examples of footballers who have served jail terms and returned to the game.

Taylor believes King will be able to resume his football career when he has served his sentence.

He told BBC Radio 5Live’s Sportsweek: “If he serves his time, is contrite and shows a willingness to get his life back on track then that (football) is his skill and that’s the right of every individual.

“There are many managers who have taken on players who’ve had chequered careers both on and off the field. Sometimes they have been able to change them and other times not.

“It’s not going to be an easy situation to accept but I would hope with the passage of time, with the right approach from Marlon and the willingness to get his life back on track then that’s a situation that hopefully may resolve itself and he’s still young enough to be able to do that.”

Taylor, however, revealed the PFA had not been contacted by King or his agent Tony Finnegan.

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