A video showing anti-IRA chants sung by Sunderland fans and aimed at James McClean, shows the need for greater protection for players and the need for greater education on sectarian issues.
Given the goings-on of the last week, with the reaction to the Irish women's football team singing 'ooh ah up the ra' dominating headlines and Twitter discourse, the clip is a stark reminder of the regularity of the sectarian abuse suffered by McClean.
The game in question was Wigan vs Sunderland in the Championship, with McClean's old club clearly not feeling any love for their past player as they chanted 'fuck the IRA.'
Wigan sports journalist, Paul Kendrick, highlighted the footage on Twitter and also noted that such chants are a regular occurrence.
Sunderland Direct Abuse At James McClean
Here’s the McClean abuse by the way…to ‘prove’ it happened…wasn’t even going to post it as a) it happens most places and b) nothing will ever get done by the authorities. That it’s now so widely accepted that it’s bound to happen is damning. #wafc pic.twitter.com/VpCQeuLB4O
— Paul Kendrick (@PKendrickWIG) October 15, 2022
In 2020 the PFA [Professional Footballer's Association] issued a powerful statement in relation to the abuse aimed at James McClean, however it is clear that not much as changed since.
“James has been subjected to this type of vile abuse throughout his career, and he will be fully supported in the same way as any other individual who receives abuse based on their race, religion or nationality,” said a statement issued by the PFA.
“The PFA have previously advised James to report sectarian chanting to match officials and we are satisfied that in this instance the protocol was enacted. However, this action in isolation is not sufficient.
“We welcome that Huddersfield have committed to a full investigation to identify offenders; we hope that the perpetrators will face further consequences from both within and outside the game.
“In addition, as with other forms of discrimination, it has become clear that this type of abuse is on the rise and is becoming a weekly occurrence for James.”