“Innocent Until Proven Guilty,” Wael al-Qadi Defends His Manager Barton

The club had "in no way meant to belittle charges of domestic abuse" and "we stand firmly against any form of violence," Wael al-Qadi says.

Bristol Rovers president Wael al-Qadi apologises for Joey Barton statement
Joey Barton/Picture credit: BBC

The club had “in no way meant to belittle charges of domestic abuse” and “we stand firmly against any form of violence,” Wael al-Qadi says.

In an open letter on the Bristol Rovers website, the president of the club seemingly defended his manager following allegations that he had verbally abused his wife. Joey Barton who had issued an offensive statement infuriated fans and charities.

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Despite an apology from the president of Bristol Rovers, Wael-Qadi, for the offensive statement made by the club`s manager, some fans, and charities are still very furious. For legal reasons, the statement which was made by the 38-year-old has not been unveiled.

President Wael-Qadi expressed that he understood the supporters` concerns and any club employees who are charged with similar offenses “will be dismissed immediately”

“However, in line with the basic principles of British law, it is my view that you are innocent until proven guilty,” he added.

Legal proceedings are still underway following accusations of domestic abuse. On Monday, Mr. Barton appeared before the magistrates` court for assaulting his wife Georgia on 2 June. Following his release on unconditional bail, the club manager awaits his trial which will be conducted at Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court on 16 December.

The chief executive of domestic abuse charity Refuge said the club’s statement on Monday was unhelpful.

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Ruth Davison, Refuge’s chief executive, said: “Bristol Rovers’ average attendance pre-Covid was 8,320. If that was compromised entirely of women, at least 2,080 would have experienced domestic abuse at an average game.

“A tactic often used by perpetrators of abuse is to tell women that no one will believe them. I would challenge Bristol Rovers to consider whether their [statement] will dispel or exacerbate that notion.”

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