Northern Ireland

Linfield FC to investigate claims of claims of sectarian abuse at Carrick Rangers match

Carrick Rangers manager Niall Currie. Picture by Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press
Carrick Rangers manager Niall Currie. Picture by Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

LINFIELD Football Club has said it will investigate "serious and unproven" claims of sectarian abuse directed at Carrick Rangers players during a weekend game.

In the latest report of abuse targeteing Irish league footballers this season, the Carrick club released a statement after the two teams met in Carrickfergus.

It said it totally condemned "vile personal and sectarian abuse" by supporters during the match.

"Whilst we in no way condone the actions of players who react to this provocation, this must be seen as a direct result of receiving diabolical abuse throughout the 90 minutes," it said.

"We, more than many clubs this season, are acutely aware of the pressures that our young players face and the impact that this type of abuse can have on their mental health."

It also called on all clubs and the NI Football League "to take positive action to begin to stamp out what has become an endemic problem in our local game".

Linfield said it noted the statement "with surprise and disappointment" and was unaware of the "evidence of any sectarian abuse" by its supporters.

It also pointed to the "unacceptable behaviour of certain Carrick players" during and at the end of the game.

It said it would begin an internal investigation once it received match reports.

The statement ended: "Linfield Football Club is totally opposed to sectarianism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour and abuse."

Carrick Rangers boss Niall Currie said he heard goalkeeper Harry Doherty being abused by fans for 45 minutes before being sent off following the match.

He later said that "99 per cent of Linfield supporters were magnificent yesterday. I'm talking about one or two very silly people".