FA urged to challenge anti-Irish racism

Campaigners have urged the English and Scottish football associations to tackle anti-Irish racism after James McClean and Neil Lennon were targeted by supporters.

FA urged to challenge anti-Irish racism

By Damian Spellman

Campaigners have urged the English and Scottish football associations to tackle anti-Irish racism after James McClean and Neil Lennon were targeted by supporters.

Stoke midfielder McClean received a warning from England’s FA on Monday for language used in an angry Instagram response to fans who abused him for not wearing a Remembrance Day poppy after his club’s Championship draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The incident came just days after Hibernian manager Lennon was hit by a coin during the Edinburgh derby.

Now the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland and Show Racism the Red Card in both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom have urged the game’s governing bodies to get tough with offenders.

A joint statement said: “This statement is a joint call from Show Racism the Red Card Ireland, Show Racism the Red Card UK and the Professional Footballers’ Association of Ireland to both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to have a more robust approach to abuse faced by players like James McClean and managers such as Neil Lennon.

Racism on the basis of colour, nationality, religion, or ethnicity is not acceptable and all within the game have a responsibility to respond appropriately.

“James McClean has stood in solidarity with team-mates who have experienced racism and spoken out. We stand in solidarity with James McClean, Neil Lennon, and all those who experience racism.

“We call on both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to investigate all incidents of anti-Irish discrimination.

“We also call on both associations to invest funding in anti-racism education to help both supporters and young people understand the dangers and the impact of racism.”

McClean branded spectators who confronted him at the weekend as “uneducated cavemen” in the latest incident surrounding his decision not to wear a poppy on his shirt, and was unhappy to learn the FA was investigating his comments.

In announcing its decision to warn McClean over a single word used in his Instagram post, but to take no further action, the FA added “that any discriminatory language or behaviour aimed at any person or persons of nationality or faith, as we understand may have been experienced by the player in this case, is unacceptable.”

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