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Sunderland say they would have sacked Adam Johnson if they knew he was pleading guilty

But it's not clear what they knew and when.

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Sunderland winger Adam Johnson has been found guilty of having sex with a child and faces significant jail time. He was found not guilty of another charge, while he pled guilty to two lesser charges before his trial started.

The club claim that they didn't terminate Johnson's contract because they had no idea he was going to plead guilty to any charges, and say they would have released him if they knew. "It was a massive shock," said manager Sam Allardyce about Johnson pleading guilty to two charges. "Justice has been done, he's let everybody down." Sunderland also released a statement denying that they knew he'd change his plea on those counts just before the trial.

At The Guardian, Louisa Taylor lays out the key questions that Sunderland have left to answer, including what they knew, why they let Johnson continue to play for them and if they have any responsibility to help the victim of Johnson's crimes.

Own goal of the day

Carlos Idriss Kameni, come on down. (r/soccer)

In the news

Brandi Chastain is donating her brain for CTE research. (New York Times)

Alexis Sánchez claims Arsenal lack the hunger and self-belief to win the title. (Mirror)

Chris Brunt will miss Euro 2016 due to knee surgery. (Guardian)

Petr Cech is out of the North London Derby after picking up an injury against Swansea. (ESPN FC)

That dreaded European Super League meeting might have been about playing Champions League games in America and Asia. (Telegraph)

Some new MLS kits are out. Here's a look at all of them. (SI)

You should be reading

Jonathan Wilson on Arsenal finding new ways to fail. (Guardian)

Doug McIntyre on Portland Timbers' hopes of repeating. (ESPN FC)

Angelo Sylvester on the death of the former Fiorentina. (These Football Times)

What happened on Wednesday

Here's a recap with highlights of a wild midweek EPL slate.

Bayern Munich lost! Craziness. (Bavarian Football Works)

Real Madrid got the job done against Levante. (Managing Madrid)

What to watch on Thursday (click for listings, all times ET)

La Liga: 3 games (from 2 p.m.) -- Barca plays at 3.

SheBelieves: USA vs. England (7 p.m.) -- Sadly, the non-US games from this tournament are not on TV or streaming.

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