Wexford’s racism response exemplary, says O’Neill

GAA president Liam O’Neill has praised the Wexford County Board for their handling of a racism case.

Two Duffry Rovers players were handed eight-week bans after being cited by referee Brendan Martin for directing racist comments towards Sarsfields’ inter-county player Lee Chin in a league game two months ago.

“The people who are alleged to have committed the offence have been punished,” said O’Neill. “This has been dealt with in an exemplary fashion. The people who were identified in the referee’s report were dealt with and that’s the way all disciplinary matters should be dealt with.”

As well as having an integration officer, the GAA and the GPA have been involved in initiatives like Show Racism The Red Card and worked closely with Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI).

While realistic to know it’s an issue that can’t be stamped out entirely, O’Neill is satisfied decisive action was taken on this occasion. Speaking on Today FM’s The Last Word yesterday evening, former Dublin footballer Jason Sherlock, who suffered racist abuse during his career, believed the eight-week ban dished out to each player was sufficient.

“In the rule book it’s the minimum punishment but it’s a positive sign to see the referee picked up on it.”

Sherlock expressed his sympathy with Chin after enduring the “humiliating” experience.

Sherlock admitted he has been subject to racist comments on Twitter after recently joining the social networking site.

The Integration Centre’s director of public affairs Helena Clarke argued the Duffry Rovers players deserved longer suspensions.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to improve the match-day presentation, O’Neill has asked his presentation and awards committee to look at the possibility of cutting acceptance speeches as well as replacing minute’s silences with moment’s silences.

O’Neill said no decision has yet been taken on Allianz Football Division 1 home advantage being awarded to the top two finishers after the seven rounds.

Counties have been asked to discuss the possibility of adopting the measure and a final decision will be made by Central Council at their next meeting in August.

O’Neill also clarified Eugene McGee’s football review committee are dealing with the game solely and not the structure of the Championship.

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