Blackpool FC release statement after Bez Lubala is cleared of rape allegations

Blackpool FC say they had no prior knowledge of the allegations facing Bez Lubala prior to signing him from Crawley Town.

By Matt Scrafton
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 7:36 pm

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The forward was today found not guilty of raping an 18-year-old girl following a trial in a Brighton court.The allegation relates back to an incident in September 2019 while he played for Crawley.

The 24-year-old would sign for the Seasiders a year later, with the club unaware of the allegations made against him at the time.

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“Blackpool Football Club notes the jury reached a verdict of not guilty in relation to the allegation against Beryly Lubala,” the club said in a statement.

“This has been an extremely difficult time for all involved.

“The alleged offence is one that the club had no prior knowledge of when Beryly signed for Blackpool in September 2020.

“The club would like to make clear that it would not knowingly sign a footballer, nor employ any individual, who is subject to a police Investigation of this gravity.

Lubala has been found not guilty by a jury in Brighton

“The club will be making no further comment at this stage.”

During the trial, Lubala told the jury he was immediately suspended by Blackpool for two weeks after informing them he was due in court.

Lubala also said Blackpool took him to court as they wanted to terminate his contract for being “dishonest” and not disclosing he had been interviewed by police before signing.

He told the court he was able to beat the case with the help of the FA and he is still in a contract with Blackpool - but with strict conditions.

Julia Smart QC, defending Lubala, said there is still an ongoing dispute between Crawley Town and Blackpool, who say his former team should have informed them about the allegations.

Speaking after today’s verdict, Lubala said he wished to put the “episode” behind him and focus on his family, future and football career.

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