Irish League club responds to calls to act over player jailed for indecent image of child
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Irish League club responds to calls to act over player jailed for indecent image of child

AN IRISH League football club has said it condemns ‘without question’ the actions of a player who was jailed for distributing an indecent image of a child.

Cliftonville player Jay Donnelly, 23, was sentenced to four months this week after admitting the charge in December.

He has been granted bail pending an appeal, with the club saying it would give the judgement and appeal ‘due consideration’.

'Reputation'

However the North Belfast Reds Cliftonville Supporters Club said it was ‘dismayed’ by the club’s response, saying Cliftonville ‘must act swiftly and begin full disciplinary proceedings against the player’.

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“To wait until the outcome of any possible appeal is unacceptable and damages the reputation of the club,” they added.

Meanwhile the Belfast Feminist Network described the statement as ‘brief and non-committal’.

“They need to do better than this, especially in the wake of the new information about the details of the case,” they said.

The BBC reports the player took a picture of a 16-year-old girl while the pair were participating in a sexual act in June 2016.

It was later shared on a Whatsapp group with other Cliftonville players before being leaked on Facebook.

Constrained by legal obligations

A follow-up statement by the club has since said they are receiving legal advice and will act when in a position to do so.

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“We wish to reiterate, as we said in our statement of December 1, that the Club does not condone such behaviour and recognises the impact that this has had on the victim and her family,” said the statement.

“We condemn such actions without question. We previously stated that the Club will not shirk its responsibilities to our members, supporters and the wider community and that remains the case.

“The Club is currently receiving legal advice and, when we are in a clear position to act, the Club will do so, responsibly and within the requirements of employment law.”

It added: “We understand and appreciate that our supporters and others would welcome detailed commentary and statements on this matter, but we are constrained by the framework within which we as employers are legally obliged to operate.”

Donnelly played for Cliftonville on November 24, a day after pleading guilty to the charge, but has not featured for the club since.