Anti-Irish and sectarian abuse of Stoke City's James McClean is 'shaming football' says influential lobby group Kick It Out

James McClean.
James McClean.

Anti-racism body Kick It Out says the anti-Irish abuse levelled at James McClean at English soccer grounds is ‘disgraceful.’

The lobby issued an uncompromising statement of solidarity with the Creggan man yesterday after he suffered xenophobic abuse during Stoke City’s home game against Millwall on Saturday.

“James McClean was once again subjected to disgraceful anti-Irish and sectarian abuse this weekend. We have informed the FA so they can investigate but we reiterate – the abuse he continues to receives is absolutely unacceptable and shames our game,” said Kick It Out, an organisation dedicated to tackling discrimination and racism in football.

The intervention follows the decision by the FA to charge English Championship club Barnsley F.C. over the alleged abuse by some supporters of the Stoke City winger during a match in November, and Huddersfield Town’s decision to investigate alleged abuse targeting Mr. McClean during a match on New Year’s Day.

More: Barnsley F.C. charged by FA over abuse of Derry footballer James McClean

Kick It Out said: “We have been in constant contact with Stoke City and James, as we continue to offer our full support. Greater action must be taken by the authorities to safeguard his and his family’s wellbeing, because the current situation cannot continue.”

On Friday Mr. McClean's employer Stoke City condemned the "vile anti-social chanting" the Irish international has routinely suffered from a minority of football supporters in Britain.

"We believe the chanting to be discriminatory and, like any other hate crime, there is no place for it in society and the perpetrators should be held accountable.

"As a Club we have always supported James and will continue to do so," said The Potters, in a statement.

More: James McClean complains of culture of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sectarianism

Mr. McClean said: “I appreciate the backing the Club have given me since I joined in 2018 and it’s reassuring to know that support remains.”

Stoke said discriminatory or abusive chanting of any kind was "simply unacceptable".

Supporters were encouraged to report it using the Kick It Out app, which is available to download from Google Play or the App Store or by texting the Club on 07920 448 570.