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Immaculata FC fined £1,000 after fan abuse targeting East Belfast FC striker Danny Purkis


Daniel Purkis

Daniel Purkis

Daniel Purkis

West Belfast football club Immaculata FC have been fined £1,000 by the Irish Football Association (IFA) over supporter abuse aimed at an East Belfast FC player.

On Friday, the IFA said Immaculata were charged with a breach of bringing the game into disrepute and spectator misconduct following the November 13 fixture.

The fixture against East Belfast FC was marred by abuse hurled at striker Danny Purkis, who said some spectators aimed vile sexual threats towards his one-year-old daughter during the game.

Purkis refused to continue playing the match and walked off the pitch in the 83rd minute after hearing the comments up to five times from a group of around nine people.

The Northern Amateur Football League (NAFL) Premier Division clash took place at Immaculata’s home ground of Grosvenor Recreation Centre in west Belfast. Immaculata won the game 3-1.

At the time Immaculata condemned those responsible, saying they stand against “all forms of abuse” and said they were investigating the incident internally to identify the offenders.

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Following an investigation by the IFA, the club have been charged and fined.

An IFA statement on Friday said: “Immaculata were charged by the Irish FA’s Disciplinary Committee with a breach of Article 17 of the Irish FA’s Articles of Association (bringing the game into disrepute) and a breach of Article 33 (spectator misconduct) during their fixture v East Belfast on Saturday 13 November.

“Subsequently the club did not challenge these charges and the matter proceeded by way of a sanction only hearing.

“The Disciplinary Committee has now sanctioned the club with a £1000 fine, however the club have a right to appeal.”

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last month, Purkis said the group had already made comments about his wife and mother but said he could not continue after they “stooped so low” in their remarks about his daughter.

“They kept shouting it as if it was okay to say and I just thought I couldn't be hearing this sort of stuff,” he explained.

“I asked the coaches to take me off but we had used all our subs so I came off myself.

“I just thought it was right to leave the pitch and I’ve never done that. I needed to get out of the road of it. I don’t need that.”

Describing the experience as “absolutely horrible”, Purkis said he was close to lifting his daughter and bringing her over to the abusers to show them who they were targeting.

“It was just filth talk,” he added. “I have the support of my family and I have never ever heard anything like that during a game.

“It just ruined a good result for them and that’s what one of their players said to me.”

Immaculata FC has been approached for a response.

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