Belfast Telegraph

IFA must take on the bigots, says Jim Boyce

By Graham Luney

Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has echoed calls for the Irish Football Association to stamp out sectarianism in local football.

There was sectarian chanting from small sections of the Linfield and Cliftonville support at Windsor Park during the County Antrim Shield semi-final on Tuesday night. In the 81st minute, referee Hugh Carvill asked for an announcement to be made, urging those involved to desist.

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has warned the Irish FA she wants to see action taken to address the issue and former IFA president Boyce agrees.

"Of course the IFA has a responsibility to do something about this," said Boyce, a consistent campaigner against the scourge of sectarianism in his reign as IFA President.

Incidents like Tuesday's have become more isolated, but he added: "We cannot let things slip back again to the bad old days. This issue has got to be tackled head on.

"I sincerely hope this is a one-off incident and there is no repeat as no decent person would want to hear any of this in our football grounds.

"It's a social problem but football authorities must tackle it. Sadly a very small element of supporters are hell bent on bringing clubs into disrepute.

"I have always been consistent in my opposition and condemnation of any form of sectarianism and racism.

"Guidelines are being brought in by Fifa and Uefa and we have already seen a punishment handed out to CSKA Moscow following fans' racist behaviour."

* The Irish FA has announced JD Sports as the new exclusive retail partner ahead of the new home and training kit launches on Thursday, November 14.

The new partnership will see all adidas official replica and training-wear products available exclusively in JD stores and online at jdsports.co.uk/northernireland.

The new home kit will be revealed and available for pre-order online at jdsports.co.uk/northern ireland from Wednesday ahead of the full launch on November 14.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph