Sinn Féin demanding BBC apologise for airing clip of football fans chanting 'f*** the Pope'

Sinn Féin demanding BBC apologise for airing clip of football fans chanting 'f*** the Pope'

SINN FÉIN has asked the BBC to apologise for airing a TV clip appearing to show football fans in Belfast chanting 'f*** the Pope'.

On Wednesday, the British broadcaster featured a report of the UEFA Super Cup match between Chelsea and Villarreal, which was held at Windsor Park.

During the clip, fans were heard singing along to Neil Diamond's 'Sweet Caroline', but instead of 'da, da, da', the supporters appeared to sing 'f*** the Pope'.

While the BBC defended the footage, saying they were "confident" there was no swearing captured in the audio, they agreed to remove the clip and not to show it again following an online backlash.

Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey has demanded that the BBC apologise for allowing what he describes as "blatant sectarianism" to be broadcast.

"I was shocked at what appeared to be blatant and naked sectarianism in a clip broadcast as part of a package on the UEFA Super Cup final in Belfast on BBC Newsline on Wednesday evening," he said.

"The broadcast of this offensive chanting and abusive language has caused widespread anger and offence throughout the community. There can be no place for such sectarianism in our society.

"The BBC have confirmed that it doesn't not intend to broadcast the clip again but it should also remove it from the iPlayer to avoid causing further offence.

"The BBC should also issue an apology for the considerable offence it has already caused.

"I have written to all MPs representing the North asking them to join me in calling on the BBC to apologise for this incident and have also written directly to the BBC asking for clarity on what happened and a fully apology."

The BBC said in a statement: "We are confident that there was no audio of swearing on our programme tonight. However we accept that we cannot be sure of the intentions of everyone in the video and for that reason we will not run the clip again."

Chelsea beat Villarreal 6-5 on penalties to lift the Super Cup for the first time since 1998.

Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was the unlikely hero, after being subbed on with less than two minutes to go, specifically for the shootout, before going on to save two spot-kicks.