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PFAI calls on English and Scottish FA's to investigate 'all incidents of anti-Irish discrimination'

The PFAI and Show Racism the Red Card have stood in solidarity with James McClean and Neil Lennon.

Ireland international James McClean.
Ireland international James McClean.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

THE PLAYERS’ FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION of Ireland (PFAI) and Show Racism the Red Card have called on the English and Scottish FA’s to investigate incidents of anti-Irish racism.

In a joint-statement released on Tuesday, they asked for a more thorough examination of abuse suffered by players such as Ireland international James McClean and managers including Hibernian’s Neil Lennon.

Both men have been subject to attacks in recent weeks, McClean receiving both verbal and online abuse for not wearing a remembrance poppy and Lennon having a coin thrown at him during a recent game against Hearts.

The English FA announced yesterday that they were investigating McClean for an Instagram post in which he referred to Middlesborough supporters as “uneducated cavemen” after being taunted by away fans on Saturday, with the 29-year-old also quoting Bobby Sands.

Rangers v Hibernian - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership - Ibrox Stadium Hibernian manager Neil Lennon had a coin thrown at him during last weekend's Edinburgh derby against Hearts. Source: Ian Rutherford

“The FA have announced that they have investigated and warned James McClean for use of language arising from a post he put up on Instagram in which he referred to supporters who were abusing him,” the PFAI and Show Racism the Red Card said today.

This statement is a joint call from Show Racism the Red Card Ireland, Show Racism the Red Card UK and the PFAI 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.”

The statement added that both organisations stood in solidarity with McClean and Lennon and all those involved in football who had spoken out about the issue.

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

Stoke City v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - bet365 Stadium McClean received verbal abuse by away supporters during Stoke City's game against Middlesborough on Saturday. Source: Anthony Devlin

“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.”

On Tuesday Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said that not wearing a poppy was entirely McClean’s choice, feeling that the player’s decision should be respected.

“James is entitled to do what he wants,” O’Neill said. “This was the entire point. It’s entirely his choice and I think we should respect it.

“James obviously becomes the focus of attention around this particular time… Nothing unusual about that.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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