Alliance spokesperson on Sport Michael Long has said that football clubs in Northern Ireland should consider following Celtic’s lead, after it was revealed that the club’s chief executive has written to 50,000 season-ticket holders to ask them to help eradicate support for sectarianism.
It is believed to be the first time Celtic has drawn a link between its fans and the IRA. The move came after a minute’s silence for those who died in the September 11 attacks was spoiled by some Celtic supporters who sang a pro-IRA song.
Councillor Long said: “This direct and personal appeal to the fans is a brave initiative by a club which has done much in recent years to improve its image and take on sectarian problems.”
“I would hope that it would be an example followed by other clubs – both in Scotland and in Northern Ireland – where there are a minority of fans who feel they have a license to hate when they put on their team colours.”
“The sport in Northern Ireland has a tarnished image after the shocking treatment of Neil Lennon by loyalists, and while I know the football authorities have made fantastic progress on their campaign to stamp out sectarianism, this is maybe an idea to consider.”