Fan banned for life over racist abuse

It is believed the long-standing Drogs fan, aged about 50 shouted ‘n****r’ and other racist comments at Drogheda’s Senegal-born striker Ibrahima Iyane Thiam during the recent home game against Sligo Rovers.Iyane Thiam, starting a game at United Park for the first time, was unaware of the tirade, but stewards moved in to evict the man after he was reported by other Drogheda supporters who had heard the vile remarks.A spokesman for the club said the life-time ban showed that Drogheda United were serious about acting on bad behaviour and creating a family-friendly environment in the stadium. ‘We have been working so hard on this with promotions like Show Racism The Red Card and Uefa?s 10-point code of conduct and thought racism had been stamped out’, the spokesman said.There was racial abuse which was brought to the attention of the stewards by someone in the vicinity, and the person responsible was removed from the ground and banned from United Park for ever. We want to send out a message that incidents like this will not be tolerated.?However, a supporter at the Sligo match told the Drogheda Independent yesterday that he was among a group of spectators who remonstrated with another fan in a different part of the ground that was racially abusing the Senegal native.Yesterday, Iyane Thiam said he had subsequently been told of the incident which led to the supporter being banned and was disappointed that it happened, especially as he had not been the victim of racism in any of the five other countries he has played in.My English is not so good, so maybe that’s why I didn’t hear it, but it?s a little bit of a shame,? Iyane Thiam said. ‘These people have to think another way because everyone should be treated equally, no matter what colour they are. I feel sorry for these people and hope we won?t hear this kind of stuff again.The people of Clogherhead where I live with my family have been very good and we are getting to know the neighbours, Drogheda is a very nice town and I’m really happy about that. I was home recently to see my parents and the rest of my family for the first time in one and a half years. They were asking, ‘where is Drogheda’ and I said ‘behind England’, but they are starting to follow the [League of Ireland] competition now!?Ironically, Drogheda United’s official match programme for the Sligo game carried a two-page feature which highlighted the club?s Drogheda Diversity Day, an initiative to spell out the anti-racism message and included the eye-catching Show Racism The Red Card logo.A warning is also carried in every match programme, stating: ‘The club management will not tolerate any form of racist abuse or threatening behaviour. Racist or obscene chanting is strictly forbidden’.

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