January 14 – Anti-discrimination body Kick It Out has leaped to the defence of an English second tier player who continues to receive abuse based on sectarianism rather than outright racism.
Irish international winger James McClean of Stoke City has been the victim of persistent chanting about his roots, the latest by Millwall fans.
The problem started when it was revealed that McClean does not wear a poppy on his shirt for games scheduled around Remembrance Day which honours those killed in war-time conflicts.
McClean is from Derry, where in 1972 British soldiers shot civilian protesters during what was dubbed Bloody Sunday.
“James McClean was once again subjected to disgraceful anti-Irish and sectarian abuse this weekend,” said a Kick It Out statement.
“We have informed The FA so they can investigate but we reiterate – the abuse he continues to receive is absolutely unacceptable and shames our game.
“We have been in constant contact with Stoke City and James, as we continue to offer our full support.
“Greatest action must be taken by the authorities to safeguard his and his family’s wellbeing, because the current situation cannot continue.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association also issued a statement at the start of January and responded to the latest incident as follows: “There is no justification for this or any other type of abuse and the PFA stands fully beside every player who faces discrimination.”
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