Call for Linfield 'sectarian' songs probe

Published Wednesday, 06 March 2013
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Calls have been made for the Irish Football Association to investigate the behaviour of Linfield fans at a recent Setanta Cup game in Dublin, after footage emerged online.

Call for Linfield 'sectarian' songs probe
The flag was erected by fans at the game in Dublin. (© Presseye)

A video from Monday night's clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium shows a section of Blues fans singing songs including The Billy Boys.

Sinn Féin have raised concerns over the alleged sectarian behaviour.

Oliver McMullan MLA said: "Video footage has emerged which clearly shows a large body of Linfield fans engaging in sectarian chanting and songs. There are also altercations by supporters with members of An Garda and several pitch stewards.

"Given the clarity of the footage there should be no problem in the IFA identifying those involved and sanctioning them for their behaviour. If the IFA are sincere about stamping out sectarianism within Irish soccer they need to show leadership on this issue."

Gardaí confirmed two fans from the Belfast club were arrested for public order offences during the game and later released.

One officer from the Irish police force suffered minor injuries after he was thrown from his horse when a flare was fired in his direction.

Sectarianism has no place in football anywhere on this island or anywhere else and should not be tolerated by either soccer clubs or the IFA

Oliver McMullan

It has been claimed Linfield fans also removed a Tricolour from a flagpole at the stadium and replaced it with a Union flag - although a Tricolour was seen flying alongside the Union flag - after their side lost 4-1.

But Blues fans told UTV they were angry at perceived one-sided policing by gardaí and said home supporters were also involved in singing chants.

Football's governing bodies in both jurisdictions united to condemn sectarianism.

"The Irish FA are aware of the actions of some fans during the Setanta Sports Cup game between Shamrock Rovers and Linfield and unreservedly condemn such acts of inappropriate behaviour in football," a statement from the organisation told UTV.

"We will continue to work hard to promote our Football For All message and the actions of some supporters will not deter us in continuing this campaign.

"As this competition is a cross-border tournament, all matters are dealt with by the Setanta Sports Cup Committee."

The Football Association of Ireland said: "The FAI, with the IFA will continue to work closely with clubs and supporters to eradicate racism and sectarianism which have no place in the game.

"We condemn these incidents which will be dealt with by the North South Setanta Sports Cup committee who run the competition, receive the match reports and handle disciplinary matters."

The return leg of the game is to be played at Windsor Park on Monday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
53 Comments
jackie in belfast wrote (653 days ago):
@John in Newtownabbey yeah i remember the players you mentioned i even knew them, they were good guys who lived for football.I supported crusaders as a kid and idolised Danny Trainor, Danny Hale , John McPolin, Frankie McArdle,to name but a few catholics who played for us.I also remember going up to Grosvenor Park to watch the Crus play Distillery and getting spat on because of the team i followed,I was a young teenager at the time, but the hate that was vented at me has stayed with me a life time!The sectarian stuff has always been there,its not just one sided!
stevie baby in The big smoke wrote (653 days ago):
Nothing ever changes with the anti linfield/rangers media who continue to put them down,for simply being the most successful clubs in their part of the uk..Jealousy gets you nowhere ! Ashamed at nothing,offended by everything !
John in Newtownabbey wrote (654 days ago):
This is the reason I lost interest in local football. As a schoolboy, before the troubles, my friends and I from a Catholic school, were able to go with no problem to the Oval to follow the Glens, days of Albert Finlay and Bimbo Weatherup. Even in our school uniforms at an evening kick off, it was never a problem. Then came the troubles and the sectarian bigotry started with the same old songs so we were clearly no longer welcome. Switched to English football as did most of my friends not wanting to either be at risk or following a team because it was "our side" by perception. And before anyone says I am accusing the club, let me state clearly it was nothing to do with the club. It was a section of the so called supporters who adopted a pack mentality.
Socialist Republican in Beal Féirste wrote (654 days ago):
Completly rediculous comments! How is it possible for a socer team to be "protestant"?? Does every single person connected to the club, players, officials, staff etc practice the protestant religion?? NO. Again we have "identity" issues. "sinn fein the IFA will never take away our identity" So your "identity" is being a drunken bigot, singing sectarian songs, waving union jacks everywer and loving anything red, white blue or orange? Some identity that is, yous need to grow up and get a life! Sad club, even sadder supporters!
John in Creggan wrote (654 days ago):
I know of no Irish rebal song or ballad that glorifies being up to their necks in protestant blood. Forget about what the rovers chanted, the billy boys glorifies murder.
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