Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Gordon Taylor has denied allegations the organisation pressured Sunderland into allowing Adam Johnson to continue playing ahead of his trial.
Johnson was last week convicted of sexual activity with a child, as well as two other charges, one of grooming and another of sexual activity.
Sunderland originally suspended the 28-year-old once the allegations surfaced in March, but the player was reinstated pending the outcome of his trial following a meeting between the Black Cats and the PFA.
Taylor claims the PFA had no influence on Sunderland's decision to reinstate Johnson.
"With the initial statement people are assuming we'd insisted he return etc. This is an employer/employee issue where the law of the land is clear, but also there is a contract as well," Taylor told Sky Sports.
"It's not pressure that applies, it's a question of, 'Have they had an investigation?' which they said they had, and it's a matter for them to decide.
"If they were then going to say, 'He's remaining suspended' then they'd give us their reasons, but they didn't do that."
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