Football/Soccer

East Belfast FC striker Danny Purkis grateful for support after abuse hurled at daughter

Purkis walked off the pitch in the 83rd minute after hearing the comments numerous times from a group of people. Picture: Twitter 
Digital Staff

East Belfast FC striker Danny Purkis has said he is grateful for all the messages of support he has received after spectators hurled verbal sexual threats towards his one-year-old daughter during a game against Immaculata FC in the west of the city.

Purkis, who returned to amateur football for East Belfast FC last month after leaving Glenavon, walked off the pitch in the 83rd minute after hearing the comments numerous times from a group of people.

The 26-year-old's family were at Saturday’s game, including his young daughter Lillie.

He said: "Yes Lillie is no more than 100 yards away from this talk thankfully she does not understand it.

"Never in my life have I walked off a football pitch but today was the first!...heartbreaking people can drop this low and say things like that!!"

Immaculata apologised to East Belfast following the game and said the minority of supporters responsible for the abuse was not a true reflection of the football club.

“After a great game of football this afternoon, we have been made aware of an incident in relation to a small minority of our supporters at today’s game against East Belfast Football Club,” the club said in a statement.

“We are taking this incident very seriously and are currently investigating this internally to identify the individuals involved.

“This is not a true reflection of Immaculata Football Club and this issue will be dealt with appropriately. We as a club stand united against all forms of abuse.”

Immaculata also contacted Purkis directly to apologise for the incident. 

In a Twitter post, Purkis said: "On behalf of myself and my family I want to thank everyone for all the messages, mails, phoecalls and Tweets I appreciate it all. And to bru, immaculata player phoning me last night and apologising on behalf of him and players and staff...

"Hopefully never have to experience anything like that again while playing the beautiful game we all love." 

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Football/Soccer