Northern Ireland news

Football fans caught singing 'we hate Catholics' will be banned from future NI matches if identified: IFA

A still from the video in which people wearing Northern Ireland replica shirts are heard singing 'We hate Catholics'

FOOTBALL fans caught singing "we hate Catholics" will be banned from future Northern Ireland matches if they can be identified, the Irish Football Association said last night.

The IFA condemned the actions of those seen in an online video wearing Northern Ireland replica shirts and singing the sectarian song.

During the footage, believed to have been taken on Sunday night, a number of people are captured singing, "We hate Catholics, we hate Roman Catholics" to the tune of Tiffany's 'I Think We're Alone Now'.

It has been suggested the 20-second video was filmed in a bar in south Belfast after Northern Ireland's win against Belarus in a European Championship qualifier.

A television screen seen in the footage appears to show the Scotland-San Marino match, which was played on Sunday afternoon .Northern Ireland played Belarus at nearby Windsor Park on Sunday evening.

A crowd of around 20 people are seen in the bar, however, not all were singing the sectarian lyrics, which has previously been chanted by Rangers FC fans.

It has also been suggested on social media that those caught in the footage are from Castlederg, Co Tyrone.

Responding to the video, the IFA said it was "utterly wrong and we condemn sectarianism in any form".

The organisation, which has worked hard on its 'Football for All' campaign to stamp out sectarianism, later said it would work to ensure those captured in the video are prevented from attending future Northern Ireland matches.

"The Irish FA condemns sectarianism of any kind," a spokesperson said.

"The chanting in the video was wrong and if those involved can be identified, the Association will work to ensure that they are prevented from getting tickets for Northern Ireland matches."

A PSNI spokesman also said "police are aware of a video circulating online. Enquiries are ongoing."

Sinn Féin assembly member Sinead Ennis said the IFA "must take action against supporters who were filmed singing sectarian abuse".

"The IFA have rightly condemned the actions of these so-called supporters but they also need to ensure that stringent steps are taken to identify and punish those involved," she said.

"They should be banned by the IFA and reported to the PSNI."

She said there "should be zero tolerance to such disgusting displays of hate"

"There can be no place for this in sport," she said.

Alliance leader Naomi Long also said the singers should be identified and "banned from future games".

She said the video represented "genuinely disgusting conduct".

"I've been to Windsor and watched NI abroad and never witnessed anything like this," she said

"No sectarianism, nothing. Have to say I find this stuff really disgusting."

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