Belfast Telegraph

Why are the IFA continuing to tolerate sectarianism on the stands?

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Jim Gracey

A quick scan of today's Danske Bank Irish League Premiership programme tells us there will not be any 'Sectarian Shame' headlines tomorrow. Phew.

No contentious matches that lend themselves to it, you see, like Linfield v Cliftonville the other night, Loyalist v Nationalist, the worst types latching on, nothing we can do about it. Too busy organising our next trip abroad. Turkey in November? Should be a darn sight warmer than here.

Lack of information leads to speculation.

In the conspicuous absence of an official Irish FA statement deploring the widely publicised events at Windsor Park on Tuesday night, we can only surmise as to the thinking in the Windsor Avenue bunker.

This newspaper immediately requested an interview with IFA Chief Executive Patrick Nelson on the matter. His office texted back, declining. In fairness to Patrick, the problem predates him by about four centuries. But in his absence from our pages yesterday, Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín hit the nail on the head for the IFA ditherers... doing nothing is not an option.

For years, the IFA have seemed content to operate on the basis that saying something equates to doing something. For all their 'Stamp Out Sectarianism' bluster they have yet to act decisively.

Now they are saying nothing at all, and in failing to do so are rendering a great disservice to the decent rank and file Irish League supporters who greatly outnumber the morons. The idiots aren't tolerated anywhere else... that's why they've latched onto football. Where there's a will, there's a way... find it.

Belfast Telegraph


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