Cabral will stand trial at Newcastle Crown Court in April charged with two counts of rape SAFC

Former Sunderland player Cabral will go on trial next month accused of two counts of rape in Gateshead, Newcastle. The midfielder, whose real name is Adilson Tavares Varela, was arrested on 25 January last year after the alleged incident.

Cape Verde-born Cabral had previously pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing and is set to stand trial at Newcastle Crown Court on 25 April. The former Basel player was charged on 24 June last year.

After a disappointing spell at Sunderland, where the 27-year-old made just one Premier League appearance on the opening day of the 2013-14 season, he was loaned to Italian club Genoa. He left the Black Cats on 2 February 2015 by mutual consent just days after the alleged incident took place.

Cabral had played numerous times for Swiss international youth teams up to Under-21 level and had turned out for Lausanne, the Sevilla B team and Basel. He returned to Switzerland in May last year after signing a four year contract with FC Zurich until 2019.

The winner of five Superleagues whilst playing for Basel, the midfielder, will be returning to the UK to make appearances for the trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sunderland is still dealing with the fallout caused by former winger Adam Johnson, 28, who was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child and grooming. Johnson, who played for England 12 times, will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on 24 March.

Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne has quit her role at the club following strong criticism. She said that allowing Johnson to continue representing the club was "a serious mistake".