| 4°C Dublin

Complaints Fan arrested after James McClean allegedly suffers anti-Irish abuse during match

'Lancashire Constabulary does not tolerate hate of any form and we are taking these allegations seriously'

Close

James McClean of the Republic of Ireland has highlighted the ongoing abuse he has endured

James McClean of the Republic of Ireland has highlighted the ongoing abuse he has endured

James McClean of the Republic of Ireland has highlighted the ongoing abuse he has endured

Lancashire Police have arrested a man on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence after Republic of Ireland international James McClean reportedly suffered anti-Irish abuse during a match on Saturday. 

The 21-year-old was arrested during Accrington Stanley’s home match with Wigan Athletic as McClean went to take a corner at the Clayton Stand end occupied by home fans.

Police moved in after complaints were made by a section of Wigan supporters to nearby stewards.

The incident occurred during the first half of Saturday’s League One match at the Wham Stadium, which ended 4-1 to the visitors.

A police statement said: “A 21-year-old man from Accrington was arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence and police assault. He has since been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.

“Lancashire Constabulary does not tolerate hate of any form and we are taking these allegations seriously.”

Originally from Derry, McClean has more than 80 caps for his country, but his decision not to wear a poppy because of its links to the British Army has made him a target for sectarian abuse during his 10 years playing in England.

McClean has been vocal about how abuse aimed in his direction was ignored by the authorities for a number of years.

There was a noticeable change in stance from the FA in the months before the pandemic shut down stadiums.

Barnsley received a £20,000 fine for sectarian abuse directed at McClean with the FA critical of what they perceived to be a slack attitude to the offences.

On another occasion, a game at Huddersfield was paused when McClean reported comments to the referee as he prepared to take a dead ball. Fans were warned to stop over the PA system.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

In August, Wigan Athletic took the significant step of writing to their League One rivals to warn them that an FA charge will come their way if James McClean receives sectarian abuse from their spectators.

After McClean re-joined Wigan where he played for two seasons between 2013 and 2015, his new employers wrote to their League One counterparts, advising that they should “consider putting plans in place to respond to any inappropriate or unlawful chanting”.

The letter – the details of which first emerged in The Guardian – was explained as an attempt to ensure clubs were “fully sighted on the circumstances and to avoid your club being charged with contravening rule E20 by the FA.”

It adds that if there are issues during a particular game, it would be “helpful” if the Ireland international was spoken to and informed of action that was taken.

Wigan say they have discussed the reporting procedure with McClean, the FA, the PFA, equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out, the English Football League and Greater Manchester police.

McClean had previously expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of support from Kick It Out, with the player of the opinion that anti-Irish comments weren’t taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination.

But they came out strongly in support of McClean in January 2020 when they said he was subjected to "disgraceful anti-Irish and sectarian abuse" during a league game with Millwall.

Earlier this year, McClean’s wife Erin opened up on the impact of social media threats sent in the family’s direction.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy