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18 March 2015, 17:11
The investigation into an allegation that England footballer Adam Johnson had sex with an underage girl ``remains very much live and ongoing'' despite his club lifting his suspension, police have said.
Relegation-threatened Sunderland football club informed Durham Police today that it would allow the £10 million forward back to training.
He had been suspended by the club after he was arrested at his mansion in the hamlet of Castle Eden on March 2 following an allegation of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16.
Durham Police said in a statement:
``Sunderland AFC informed us this morning of their decision, which of course is a matter entirely for the club."
``The police investigation remains very much live and ongoing and a man remains on bail while inquiries continue.
``We would once again urge those posting on social media to be aware of the effects their comments can have.
``We accept rumour and speculation may be inevitable, but many of the comments have been distressing to the complainant, her family and people connected with the investigation.''
Sunderland said it would allow the 27-year-old back to the club while police inquiries continue.
The statement said:
``The club has discussed the current position in detail with both the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and Adam's representatives."
``In line with those discussions, we recognise that the player is entitled to re-commence his duties with the club while the legal process continues. He will therefore return to training."
``The club's own investigation cannot continue until the conclusion of the legal process."
``Sunderland AFC will make no further comment on the matter due to the ongoing police investigation.''
Johnson is due to answer bail again on April 23, five weeks away.
UPDATED 17th March 2015
Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson's bail date has been extended by five weeks after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.
The suspended midfielder had been due to attend a County Durham police station tomorrow, following his arrest a fortnight ago.
A Durham Police spokesman said the 27-year-old will report back on April 23, while inquiries continued, and is now not required to answer bail tomorrow.
The force also said it was reported a weapon was recovered from Johnson's mansion in the leafy hamlet of Castle Eden when he was arrested, and this has been examined.
A spokesman said the item did not require a firearms certificate and no further police action would be taken.
The force warned people against commenting about the alleged victim on social media.
Officers were aware the investigation had ``resulted in considerable rumour and speculation'', causing the girl and her family considerable distress, the force said.
The spokesman added:
``We stress again the warning we have already given, that anyone who publishes anything which may identify the victim of a sexual offence is committing a criminal act and will be dealt with accordingly.''
The winger, born in Sunderland, has represented his country 12 times and also played for Middlesbrough and Manchester City.
He cost the relegation-threatened Wearside club £10 million when they purchased him in 2012 and he has gone on to score 17 goals for them.
UPDATED 3rd March 2015
Sunderland midfielder Adam Johnson has been released on bail after he was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.
The England international was questioned by police on Monday following the allegation involving a girl who is believed to be 15 years old.
He has been suspended by the club, pending the outcome of the police investigation.
Durham Constabulary said a 27-year-old man arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16 years had been released on bail "pending ongoing investigations''.
Johnson, who was questioned at Peterlee police station in County Durham, had been due to travel with the Sunderland squad to east Yorkshire on Monday ahead of Tuesday night's Barclays Premier League fixture at Hull.
UPDATED 2nd March 2015
Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has been arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16.
He remains in custody following his arrest.
He has also been suspended by the club, pending the outcome of the police investigation.
A statement from Sunderland AFC said:
"Sunderland AFC has confirmed that Adam Johnson has been suspended from the club, pending the outcome of a police investigation. No further comment will be made at the present time.''
He had been due to travel with the rest of the squad to Humberside this afternoon for tomorrow night's Barclays Premier League fixture at Hull.
Durham Constabulary said he continues to help them with their inquiries as they investigate the allegation.
A police spokesman said:
"A 27-year-old man was arrested earlier today on suspicion of sexual activity with a girl under 16."
He remains in police custody and is helping officers with their inquiries.''
Born in Sunderland, the winger has represented his country 12 times and also played for Middlesbrough and Manchester City.
He cost the Wearside club £10m when they purchased him in 2012 and he has gone on to score 17 goals for them.