Wigan Athletic's James McClean hits out at FA over chants from fans

Wigan Athletic James McClean
McClean says he's been receiving sectarian abuse for over eight years Credit: PA images

Wigan Athletic's James McClean has used social media to criticise the FA and EFL for failing to take action at sectarian abuse aimed at him.

McClean started for the Latics in their visit to Sunderland on Saturday 15 October, and was subjected to chants from a section of Black Cats fans at the Stadium of Light.

After the game he took to Instagram to say he has been subject to abusive songs and chants for at least 10 years.

Derry-born McClean, who has repeatedly found himself the target for anti-Irish Catholic abuse as a result of his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during his time in English football said:

"Where to start really, for my son who is 7 years old and watches every Wigan game either being at stadium or on Latics TV, to be asking his mother, 'Why are they booing and singing that song at Daddy?' and to have to tip-toe around answering him is something which should not be happening.

"This post is not one of sympathy (trust me, it's not wanted) but one of anger.

"Considering every single year we have an FA representative come into each club to discuss the same old c**p they spew to us about discrimination, every single year I challenge them on the abuse, every single year they do nothing."

McClean said he is upset about the impact the abuse has on his wife and children Credit: PA images

He added: "Everyone who attended the game would have heard this loud and clear including the referee, match officials and other officials.

"I should not have to report every single incident when clearly they can all hear what I hear and they should be doing their job by taking action."

In 2020 when he played for Stoke City, McClean was fined two weeks wages for an inappropriate post on Instagram, which showed him wearing a balaclava alongside two of his children with the caption "Today's school lesson, History" along with the laughing emoji.

He later apologised for that and has addressed it in his latest instagram post.

He wrote that "people who say 'he brings it on himself', this picture, which turned out to be not my best joke, occurred in 2020.

"Myself as well as my family have been on the end of sickening abuse since November 2012. For those you can’t grasp that, that is eight years of sickening abuse."

Wigan Athletic chairman Talal Al Hammad has echoed McClean’s comments with a post on social media.

He described the abuse as "shameful and sickening" and said it "needs to stop".

Talal also said "Hurting a human emotionally is as equal as hurting them physically; how come physical abuse has consequences but this doesn't?"

Wigan Athletic chairman Talal Al Hamad said the abuse is "shameful and disgusting" Credit: Twitter: Talal Al Hamad

Sunderland AFC have reiterated their zero tolerance policy on discrimination with a statement posted on the club's official website on Monday 17 October.

"The club is committed to providing an inclusive, family-friendly environment at the Stadium of Light and strongly condemns any supporter found to be engaging in any form of discriminatory behaviour.

"Whilst the majority of fans behave impeccably when supporting SAFC, there have been multiple incidents during the 2022-23 season that are unacceptable and have resulted in ejection, stadium bans and criminal investigations."

Sunderland AFC reiterates zero tolerance policy against abuse Credit: Sunderland AFC website

The Football Association, which has previously met with McClean and the EFL and police to discuss the discrimination he has faced, is understood to be aware of the chants and is investigating.

An FA spokesperson said: "We strongly condemn all forms of discriminatory and offensive chanting.

"Any participants or fans who believe that they have been the subject of, or witness to, discrimination are encouraged to report it through the correct channels: The FA, the relevant club or via our partners at Kick It Out.

"The FA looks into any alleged discriminatory language or behaviour that is reported to us, and we work closely with the clubs and relevant authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken."

The EFL has also released a statement saying it will provide support for James McClean.

A spokesperson said “The EFL condemns all forms of discriminatory and offensive chanting and will provide assistance wherever appropriate in respect of any investigations undertaken by the Club, FA and other authorities.

“The League has worked with other football bodies in the past and will continue to do so in the future to provide support for James.

“At the beginning of the season the EFL issued guidance to Clubs to support their match day operations to tackle discriminatory behaviour and hate crime."