Northern Ireland news

Wigan Athletic takes action to protect James McClean from sectarian abuse

Wigan Athletic football club has written to their League One rivals to warn them that the Football Association will charge them if their player James McClean is subjected to sectarian abuse in their stadium
Marie Louise McConville

WIGAN Athletic FC has warned rival clubs to expect charges if their fans direct sectarian abuse at James McClean.

In a significant move, Wigan sent a letter to clubs this week advising them to "consider putting plans in place to respond to any inappropriate or unlawful chanting".

McClean (32), who is a Republic of Ireland international, rejoined the club last week, having previously played for them between 2013 and 2015.

It was during his previous spell with Wigan that he articulated his stance on not wearing the poppy.

That has since made him a target for abuse in many English stadiums.

In its letter, Wigan wrote that it was "raising these matters with you to ensure you are fully sighted on the circumstances and to avoid your club being charged with contravening rule E20 by the FA".

"If there were any issues during the game, it would also be helpful if you spoke to James to advise him of the action taken," it added.

Last year, Barnsley FC was fined £20,000 after some supporters directed sectarian abuse at McClean.

The FA criticised the Championship club for not doing anything to "prevent or deter such behaviour".

McClean has previously said he has received "more abuse than any other player" during his decade-long career in England.

The Derry-born footballer has also received online abuse include death threats.

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