EXCLUSIVE: Ashley Williams is CLEARED by the FA of improper conduct and violent, threatening behaviour, after former Wales captain and BBC pundit was accused of attacking an U12s coach
Former Wales captain Ashley Williams has been cleared of improper conduct and violent, threatening behaviour after he was accused of attacking an opposition coach at an Under 12s match.
BBC pundit Williams, 38, was alleged to have ‘completely lost it’ at a kids game in Manchester, in which his son was playing.
However, he said that he was acting in self-defence – which is understood to have been corroborated by the match referee who gave evidence at what has been described as a ‘gruelling’ two-session hearing.
Williams, who hired a lawyer for the case, is thought to have had statements from dozens of witnesses to back up his version of events – with many describing him as ‘a role model’.
He had been accused of entering the field of play to confront a coach who intervened when Williams’s son had an exchange with a child on the other team, before allegedly assaulting the man in front of his son and wife, and refusing to let him go.
But the ref told the hearing, at which Williams made a personal appearance, that the opposition coach had acted first.
Sources close to Williams have disclosed that he is ‘elated’ at the result.
Ex-Wales star Ashley Williams has been found not guilty of violent, threatening behaviour
Ex-Wales captain Williams (circled, left and right) allegedly attacked an opposition coach at an Under 12s match in Manchester as he watched his son play. He has been found not guilty
While the BBC had previously told this newspaper that it was a ‘personal matter’ and Williams had subsequently appeared on Football Focus and Match of the Day, a different verdict may have left bosses with a decision to make ahead of Qatar, where he will appear as a pundit.
A spokesman for the former Wales footballer claimed he was acting in self-defence and that ’45 witnesses’ could corroborate his version of events
Friends have disclosed Williams and his family have been under substantial stress following the charge, which he is now keen to put behind him.
The incident saw the September 18 East Manchester Junior Football League match, between Corinthians and Williams’s TSC at Manchester’s Wright-Robinson College, abandoned.
One source familiar with the case hit out at the FA, saying ‘They charged first and asked questions later. That’s not fair and it’s the wrong way around. It’s been a very difficult time for Ashley, his family and the team.’
Following the charge a spokesperson for Williams, who won 86 caps for Wales and played for the likes of Swansea City and Everton, said he had been assaulted and was defending himself. They vowed that the ex-centre-back would be ‘vigorously defended’.
Williams was represented by Simon Goodbody of Bray & Krais Solicitors – which is led by former professional footballer Udo Onwere.
Williams was cleared following a hearing in front of a Football Association panel on Wednesday
A spokesperson for the FA said: ‘A Disciplinary Commission of The FA has found a charge against Ashley Williams for an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 to be not proven.
‘It was alleged that Ashley Williams’ conduct at a grassroots football match in Manchester last month was improper, and that his behaviour included violent conduct and/or threatening and/or abusive language, and Manchester FA charged him with a breach of FA Rule E3 after a full investigation.
‘Ashley Williams denied the charge and requested a personal hearing where the Disciplinary Commission subsequently found the charge to be not proven. Its written reasons for this decision will be published in due course.
Despite the initial allegations Williams continued to work as a pundit for MoTD on the BBC