Barnsley charged over alleged sectarian abuse of James McClean

Barnsley have been charged by the English Football Association (FA) after Stoke City midfielder James McClean was allegedly the target of sectarian abuse at the Oakwell Stadium in November.

The charge comes two days after Huddersfield Town vs. Stoke City was briefly halted due to McClean being subjected to further sectarian abuse.

The Republic of Ireland player has been a target for abuse for his refusal to wear a poppy on his shirt on Remembrance Day. McClean cites the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" massacre, where British soldiers killed unarmed protesters in his hometown of Derry, as his reason for not wearing one.

The match against Barnsley was held on the eve of Remembrance Sunday and the Independent reported that McClean was subjected to anti-IRA and anti-Pope songs as well as booing throughout the game.

"Barnsley FC has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20," the FA said in a statement on Friday.

"It is alleged that the club failed to ensure its spectators, and all persons purporting to be its supporters or followers, conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from using abusive and/or insulting words which included a reference, whether express or implied, to nationality and/or religion and/or beliefs, while attending an EFL Championship fixture against Stoke City FC on Saturday 9 November 2019."

The club has until Jan. 10 to respond to the charge.

In a statement, the club said it had a "zero tolerance policy on any form of discrimination."

Early on Friday, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) released a statement in support of McClean following the abuse he received at Huddersfield Town.

"James has been subjected to this type of vile abuse throughout his career and he will be fully supported in the same way as any other individual who receives abuse based on their race, religion or nationality," the PFA said.

"We will be talking with PGMO and the EFL to ensure that match officials are vigilant to this type of chanting and hope to see future action taken proactively on James' behalf."