Just over a year ago, Deaf footballer Daniel Ailey was abused while playing for Potters Bar Town, and went on to give this Guardian interview to the Editor of this site, Charlie Swinbourne.
Now, another incident of abuse has taken place during a match in Scotland between Largs Thistle FC and Kilsyth, in the Scottish Cup. The abuse is reported to have come from the Largs Thistle fans after a Deaf footballer opened the scoring for Kilsyth.
The Largs and Millport News has reported that Largs Thistle “have received a complaint about abusive chanting directed at deaf player Philip John Dolan who scored the opening goal in Saturday’s encounter, and Largs Thistle F.C say they are treating the matter seriously.”
The report also says:
Secretary Morag Soutter said: “We have received a complaint from the Kilsyth Supporters Club in relation to abuse of one of their players. Some of their fans have said that they have never heard such language – and have said that they might not come on Saturday to the replay.
On a positive note, the club do appear to be taking the incident seriously. The Secretary said in the newspaper report that committee members will be in the stands at the replay, and also said: “We really want to stamp down on this kind of behaviour – it is as bad as racial abuse.”
The abuse was also heard by former Largs club president Margaret Brown, who said the language was “atrocious.” The club have pledged to ban alcohol from the replay and to bar entry to drunken fans.
Dolan has experienced discrimination while playing on the football pitch before. In 2012, it was reported that he had been sent off for celebrating a goal, after he didn’t hear the referee’s whistle.
UK Deaf Sport Chair Philip Gerrard and Vice Chair Stuart Harrison have both condemned the abusive chanting aimed at Philip John Dolan when he opened the scoring for Kilsyth in the match against Largs Thistle.
Harrison said: ‘It is unacceptable and concerning that deaf people have to endure recurrences of abuse in sport. I have read that the chanting was so extreme that some of the Kilsyth fans have threatened not to go and watch the replay.”
“We need the Scottish FA and all Home country FA’s to take appropriate action and we will be writing to them to make a formal complaint and asking for a full investigation. We call upon the SFA and FA to do more to combat the problem”
“We agree with Kilsyth Supporters Club that this type of abuse is on the level of racial abuse.” Said Harrison, who said that UKDS will also be writing to the referees association to highlight the issue and seek their support.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
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