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Barnsley fined £20,000 for sectarian abuse of James McClean

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

18:00 21 Feb 2020

Barnsley have been fined £20,000 for the sectarian abuse suffered by Stoke City winger James McClean at Oakwell in November. 

The incident happened during the Championship meeting of the sides in the run-up to Remembrance Day when, as is well known, McClean opts not to wear the poppy emblazoned on other players' shirts.

Barnsley admitted to failing to ensure their fans behaved in an orderly fashion and refrained from using abusive language.

The FA praised Barnsley's guilty plea, but their investigation criticised a comment made by the club's deputy safety officer Peter Clegg.

When informed of a post-match meeting about the abuse, Clegg said of McClean, "He's a professional footballer, he should be used to it by now."

Mr Clegg's must now take an equality and diversity course, while Barnsley acknowledged the "wholly inappropriate nature of those words".

Speaking to Off The Ball in January, the Republic of Ireland winger said he'd become sadly accustomed to such abuse, "I’ve been getting this every week in the last eight, nine years since I’ve been in England. I’ve just learned to roll with it. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t affect me.

"I think I’ve been very vocal in the last few years because, in a way, I’m probably to blame in the sense that I didn’t really follow up and go after the right people.

"I shouldn’t have had to anyway because that’s their job. Discrimination is discrimination. They shouldn’t need me to basically cry about it so they do their job."

The Yorkshire club has also been left to pick up the £2,250 tab for costs associated with the Football Association's Independent Regulatory Review.

In their findings, the FA say that Barnsley will "conduct a review of its stewarding management, provision, deployments, and quality of steward training. In addition, existing processes should be closely examined to ensure quality steward incident reporting (verbal & written) is in place to support proportionate reactions to match day incidents and potential postmatch investigations."

Barnsley responded to the charge with a brief statement:

Barnsley Football Club has received a significant fine after being found guilty of breaching FA Rule E20 during the Sky Bet Championship fixture at Oakwell against Stoke City on 9th November 2019.

Barnsley Football Club has a zero tolerance policy on any form of discrimination and as such, are immensely disappointed to have been found guilty of violating FA rulings.

The Club will act upon the case findings and will continue to work closely with The FA and Kick It Out.

Anybody found to be involved in any form of discriminatory behaviour when representing Barnsley Football Club face a potential ban from attending matches.

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