Kick It Out have released a statement condemning a handful of instances of abuse towards players including Irish internationals James McClean and Cyrus Christie on the opening weekend of the Football League.
The organisation, which supports equality in football, identified a number of claims of abuse and violence against four players on Saturday.
Ireland and Fulham defender Cyrus Christie alleged his sister was hit and racially abused during their match at Barnsley, and condemned the incident on his social media.
“To the Fulham fan that decided to hit my sister at the game today and his wife who justified his action with racist remarks, I hope your proud of yourself and feel like a big man. You’ll get what’s coming to you. Regardless how you felt about the result your actions are shameful.”
Stoke’s James McClean was also mentioned in the statement from Kick It Out along with Southend’s Theo Robinson and Barnsley’s Bambo Diaby.
Every year, around November, McClean is targeted by fans on social media and in football grounds over his refusal to wear the Remembrance Day poppy, while also finding himself the victim of a number of isolated incidents of high-profile sectarian abuse throughout his career in English football.
The statement read:
“We are appalled to hear that the sister of Fulham’s Cyrus Christie was subjected to alleged violence and racist abuse on Saturday, with Southend’s Theo Robinson, Stoke’s James McClean and Barnsley’s Bambo Diaby targeted with unacceptable discriminatory abuse too.
“On the first weekend of the season, these incidents should be a reminder for everyone in football that racism and discrimination cannot be ignored.
“Clubs and the football authorities must be relentless in calling out this disgraceful behaviour, and be prepared to issue strong sanctions and education sessions to any supporter involved.
“We have contacted the clubs to offer our support to the players, are liaising with the police and have informed the FA of all the incidents, so that whoever is responsible can be brought to justice.
“Discrimination casts a shadow over football in this country, and we will not stop highlighting the problem while it remains rife in the game.”