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Home Sport Football

Racist abuse 'deeply saddening', says Republic defender Cyrus Christie

Republic of Ireland defender Cyrus Christie has called on the football community to "stand up" to racism after revealing he has been a target on social media.

Christie was subjected to abuse on Twitter after scoring an own-goal during the World Cup play-off defeat by Denmark, with the Football Association of Ireland reporting his treatment to the Gardai.

The Coventry-born player was allegedly told by one user to go and play for Jamaica, with other references to lynching the 25-year-old.

Middlesbrough full-back Christie posted a note on Twitter which read: "Firstly, I'd like to say I am extremely proud to represent my country, the Republic of Ireland, and I give everything I can each and every time I put on the shirt. I genuinely believe our fans are some of the best in the world.

"However, there have been a number of racist comments which have been brought to my attention during the World Cup qualifying campaign over the last couple of months and, most recently, last week.

"These comments are not representative of our fans or our sport. We were all deeply upset to not reach the World Cup finals and are hurting just as much as everyone else.

"It is deeply saddening that racism is still part of the game we all enjoy and love. I strongly believe we need to stand up against these individuals, who do not belong in football or any other sport."

PFA Ireland and anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card had earlier issued a joint statement condemning the abuse.

"We fully support all efforts to stamp out racism from the game and that includes comments targeting players on social media," said PFA Ireland's general secretary Stephen McGuinness.

"The nature of this incident is really shocking and no player should be subjected to that and we hope that the perpetrator is called to account."

Christie's international team-mate James McClean drew attention to the situation while speaking at the PFA Ireland awards, which took place on Saturday,

Garrett Mullan, a director of SRTRC, called for social networks to play a pro-active part in weeding out such abuse and praised McClean for speaking out.

"We welcome the fact that the FAI and Gardai are taking action but social media outlets also have a role to play in responding to racism," he said.

"We welcome the fact that James McClean has shone a light on to some of the nasty elements out there."

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