(Reuters) – Stoke City winger James McClean has been warned by the English Football Association for using offensive language in a social media post over his decision not to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt.
The 29-year-old Ireland international was booed during Stoke’s scoreless draw with Middlesbrough in the Championship on Saturday and he reacted by criticising fans on Instagram.
“Stoke City’s James McClean has been warned by The FA for his use of an offensive word on social media,” the FA said in a statement.
“We are satisfied that the rest of the player’s postings do not breach FA Rules and, therefore, no further disciplinary action will be taken.”
Poppies are worn as a symbol of remembrance, honouring those who lost their lives in various conflicts.
McClean was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, where 13 people were shot dead by British soldiers in 1972 during ‘Bloody Sunday’. A 14th person died later in hospital. The victims were all unarmed Catholics.
McClean, who has never worn a poppy, accused the FA of double standards, saying he is regularly subjected to anti-Irish racism because of his poppy stance.
He urged the FA to punish fans who abuse Irish players.
“The FA adds that any discriminatory language or behaviour aimed at any person or persons of nationality or faith, as we understand may have been experienced by the player in this case, is unacceptable,” the FA statement added.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor, editing by Pritha Sarkar)