Monday 11 December 2017

Former Scotland defender hit with record ban for launching sectarian abuse at James McClean

James McClean and (left) Kirk Broadfoot
James McClean and (left) Kirk Broadfoot
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Former Scotland and Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot has been hit with a record 10-game ban for launching a sectarian tirade of abuse at Ireland's James McClean.

The ban is thought to be the longest in the history of the English game for verbal abuse.

The incident dates back to March when Wigan and Rotherham - Broadfoot's current club - played a league game at Rotherham's New York Stadium.

Broadfoot launched a tirade of sectarian abuse at Wigan's McClean and later labelled him a cheat after he suggested the Ireland star dived to earn his side a penalty.

It is believed there is a strict confidentiality clause in the case which prohibits anyone involved from talking about the incident. The clause was put in place for fear of any repercussions for any party in the future.

An Independent Regulatory Commision hearing deemed the Scot had "used abusive/and or insulting words towards a member of the opposition, in breach of FA Rule E3(1)."

An FA statement added: "It was further alleged that the breach was an 'Aggravated Breach' as defined by Rule E3(2)."

Broadfoot, 30, was also fined £7,500 and ordered to complete an education programme.

Broadfoot comes from a staunch protestant backround and during his time at Rangers he was sent off for a professional foul on McClean's Ireland team-mate Aiden McGeady.

McClean himself has been making headlines recently for his decision to turn away from the Union Jack during the British National Anthem before a West Brom pre-season friendly.

The winger, signed from Wigan this summer, is from a republican background in Derry and has also refused to wear a Remembrance Day poppy out of respect for people killed on Bloody Sunday - reasons for which he later explained in an open letter to supporters and the club.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis subsequently warned McClean about his actions and there has been plenty of debate, for and against McClean, since.

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