Thursday 27 April 2017

Footballer sacked after posts about Arter's stillborn child

Bournemouth star Harry Arter. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Bournemouth star Harry Arter. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Jim van Wijk

Semi-professional footballer Alfie Barker has been sacked by his parent club Hitchin Town and faces an FA investigation into offensive Twitter comments sent to midfielder Harry Arter about his stillborn daughter.

The tweets from an account in the name of Barker were sent to the Ireland international after Arsenal came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth on Tuesday night. One of the messages said: "At least you didn't lose your kid."

It was followed by another tweet to the Bournemouth player, which said: "Big hype just for a disappointment like the 9 months leading up to your childs birth."

Barker yesterday issued an apology for what he described as "disgraceful comments" and the Twitter account was later deleted.

He wrote: "I'm sorry for every comment made, I'd like to apologise to Harry Arter and his family, for such disgraceful comments and I'm sorry..."

A second message then added: "... from the bottom of my heart".

Barker replaced his Twitter profile picture with just a black screen and altered his bio to first read 'Got Hacked', then simply a single full stop.

By late yesterday afternoon, the account was no longer in use.

Southern Football League Premier Division side Hitchin hold Barker's registration. The 19-year-old forward has this season been mainly playing on loan at Langford and then more recently Codicote.

Hitchin issued a statement yesterday afternoon announcing that they were "terminating Alfie Barker's registration and relationship with the club with immediate effect".

Bournemouth and Arter became aware of the posts following Tuesday's match and reported them directly to Twitter.

Twitter said it did not comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons.

Irish Independent

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