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Ballymena United appeals for help identifying fan behind verbal abuse of female worker during soccer clash

A Ballymena United supporter subjected a female staff member to verbal abuse at last Saturday's match against Cliftonville at the Belfast side's Solitude grounds.
A Ballymena United supporter subjected a female staff member to verbal abuse at last Saturday's match against Cliftonville at the Belfast side's Solitude grounds.

SOCCER club Ballymena United has appealed for help in identifying a fan who subjected a female staff member to "verbal abuse of a sexual nature" during a recent match.

The club said in a statement posted to its website on Thursday that the incident happened during an NIFL Premiership match against Belfast side Cliftonville last Saturday.

The match was played at Cliftonville's Solitude stadium in north Belfast.

A spokesperson said the person responsible was believed to be a Ballymena supporter, and the "vast majority of our excellent support cannot be tarnished by those who see such vile language as acceptable".

The club has said it will report such incidents to the PSNI, and has spoken with witnesses in a bid to identify the person behind the abuse.

"We are extremely upset and angry that verbal abuse of a sexual nature was targeted at a female member of staff during last weekend's game against Cliftonville," they said.

"The comments were made by an individual or individuals within the Ballymena United support. We are also very concerned that this highly sexualised language was in ear shot of children.

"The language used cannot be published but anyone who heard it will know exactly what we are referring to, and will know that it is simply wrong. We are reviewing footage supplied and have already taken witness statements from those present. We are also asking anyone who was present at the match who could help us identify those who are responsible - you can contact us confidentially at football@ballymenaunitedfc.com, or speak in confidence to any board or management committee member."

The spokesperson added: "If you wouldn't accept such words directed at your mother, sister, wife or daughter, then we expect that you wouldn't accept to hear it shouted at a football match. We have a legal and moral responsibility to staff, volunteers, supporters and children to protect them from being subject to and hearing sexually abusive language."