Ports to issue lifetime ban after IFA fine for racial abuse

Alvin Rouse. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Alvin Rouse. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Portadown Football Club chairman Roy McMahon has warned of a lifetime ban to anyone found guilty of racial abuse at a match.

The Irish Football Association Disciplinary Committee this week imposed a £1,000 fine on the Ports following a report by Ballinamallard United goalkeeper Alvin Rouse in relation to August’s Danske Bank Premiership game.

It is understood that Rouse was the victim of racial abuse during the game at Ferney Park and the player reported the comments to an assistant referee.

“This is a totally unacceptable situation and must be stamped out,” said Portadown club secretary Bill Emerson. “We are using CCTV footage and personal accounts, including Alvin’s, to help identify the perpetrator/perpetrators and supporters must be encouraged to come forward to help bring those responsible before the courts.

“The stance of the chairman and club is clear, that anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from Shamrock Park for life.

“Racial or sectarian abuse is not acceptable and strong measures will be implemented to ensure that such behaviour is eradicated from within our fanbase.

“This situation will only discourage decent supporters from attending games as well as turning sponsors away from Portadown FC.

“A further course of action taken is a ban on the appearance of a Confederate flag at any of our games, home or away, given the racist connotations associated with that flag.”

Portadown supporters have discussed raising the funds to cover the £1,000 fine and a Shamrock Park bucket collection could take place among the fanbase at Saturday’s league game with Ballymena United.

Portadown officials are also keen to review the system relating to reports of racial abuse.

“We have recommended to the IFA Disciplinary Committee that a new protocol needs implemented to tackle such incidents at the time,” said Emerson. “Alvin informed the assistant referee, who reported it to the match referee after the game.

“Our suggestion is that a much more effective response would be for the referee to be told immediately, for him to then halt the match if felt necessary and inform security personnel.

“That way, there’s a much better chance of apprehending the culprit at the time, rather than trying to identify him days or weeks later.

“Our recommendation was accepted and the Disciplinary Committee apologised for the hefty fine but, under the current rules, if a club is found guilty then that is the minimum penalty available to them.”