IFA insist 'appropriate sanction' was handed out following Linfield fans sectarian chant allegations
THE IRISH Football Association (IFA) has insisted "the appropriate sanction was delivered" after facing criticism for dismissing a charge of sectarian singing during a Windsor Park match.
Glentoran FC expressed disappointment that Linfield were fined for failing to control their supporters during the November 24 match.
It provided video footage of its Catholic players being subjected to a sectarian clash by Linfield fans who can be heard singing "The Glens have a chapel on the Newtownards Road for all you f***** b******s".
But while the IFA fined Linfield £500 and charged it for a disciplinary breach, it related to "use of insulting words" but not sectarian terms - meaning adjudicators accepted they had heard the second word but not the first.
A spokesman told The Irish News: "The matter in question was referred to the Irish FA Disciplinary Committee which is comprised of independent legal experts and members of the football community.
"The matter was considered based on the evidence presented, and the appropriate sanction was delivered."
A Glentoran spokesman said it is "well known how hard the IFA has worked to make the National Stadium an inclusive venue in recent decades".
But the club insisted "it was clear that the sectarian singing was aimed directly at Glentoran players".
"We will not allow our employees to face sectarianism at their place of work.
"We did not report this incident with a view to having sanctions imposed on Linfield. We did so to encourage the football authorities to identify and punish the guilty supporters.
"Irish league football does not have a major issue with sectarianism. Throughout the Troubles our local game was played and supported by all sections of our community."