James McClean escapes with warning from FA over 'offensive' Instagram post as calls grow for investigation into 'anti-Irish' racism in football
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James McClean escapes with warning from FA over 'offensive' Instagram post as calls grow for investigation into 'anti-Irish' racism in football

THE Professional Footballers' Association of Ireland (PFAI) and both the Irish and English branches of Show Racism the Red Card have called for an investigation into anti-Irish discrimination in football, after James McClean was warned by the FA over a recent Instagram post.

Republic of Ireland international McClean, 29, received an official warning from the FA on Monday evening for a post he shared after receiving yet more abuse for his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his Stoke City jersey at the weekend.

In a statement, the FA said it deemed the Irishman's post – in which he quoted IRA martyr Bobby Sands and condemned "uneducated cavemen", including his club's own fans – as "offensive".

It read: "Stoke City's James McClean has been warned by The FA for his use of an offensive word on social media.

"We are satisfied that the rest of the player's postings do not breach FA Rules and, therefore, no further disciplinary action will be taken.

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"The FA adds that any discriminatory language or behaviour aimed at any person or persons of nationality or faith – as we understand may have been experienced by the player in this case – is unacceptable."

In response, the three bodies listed above have called on the English and Scottish FAs to take "anti-Irish" sentiment in football more seriously.

Their own statement reads: "This statement is a joint call from Show Racism the Red Card Ireland, Show Racism the Red Card UK and the Professional Footballers Association of Ireland to both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to have a more robust approach to abuse faced by players like James McClean and managers such as Neil Lennon.

"Racism on the basis of colour, nationality, religion or ethnicity is not acceptable and all within the game have a responsibility to respond appropriately.

"James McClean has stood in solidarity with team mates who have experienced racism and spoken out. We stand in solidarity with James McClean, Neil Lennon and all those who experience racism.

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"We call on both the Football Association in England and the Scottish Football Association to investigate all incidents of anti-Irish discrimination.

"We also call on both associations to invest funding in anti-racism education to help both supporters and young people understand the dangers and the impact of racism."

The statement, released on Tuesday, is signed by Garrett Mullan (SRTRC Ireland), Stephen Mc Guinness (PFA Ireland) and Ged Grebby & Paul Kearns (SRTRC UK).