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Ballymena United Football Club cries foul after employee involves it in politics

Ballymena United Football Club has distanced itself from a staff member after being referenced in election campaign literature.

Sales and marketing executive Brian Thompson, a UUP local election candidate, referred to the club reaching its first Irish Cup final in 25 years in a leaflet, and is pictured in a club scarf.

He tells supporters to "enjoy their day at the final".

In a statement, the club said: "Ballymena United Football Club is disappointed that its name has been used by its sales and marketing executive, Brian Thompson, on election literature he has distributed. The club has long prided itself on being a cross-community organisation which welcomes players, staff, officials and supporters from all religious and political backgrounds and it does not wish to be seen to be associated with any individual political party or grouping.

"The club's directors are particularly disappointed that Mr Thompson did not make them aware of his intentions, or seek permission, to use the club's name in his election literature.

"Had he asked for permission it would have been refused. This is no reflection on the UUP."

Mr Thompson said: "I've worked for the club for 13 years and we got to the cup final.

"It was a wee bit of exuberance on my part and I was talking about sport in general, about funding for sport, and it slipped in.

"There was nothing malicious in it and my solicitor double-checked it – if I've offended anybody, I'm sorry for it."

Belfast Telegraph