‘We hate Catholics’ chant by Northern Ireland fans condemned by IFA

Video circulating online showing group singing described as ‘utterly wrong’

  Northern Ireland players celebrate scoring their first goal  against Belarus on Sunday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Northern Ireland players celebrate scoring their first goal against Belarus on Sunday. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

 

A video circulating online appearing to show Northern Ireland football fans chanting “we hate Catholics” has been condemned by the Irish Football Association.

The video shows a number of individuals in Northern Ireland football jerseys in a function room, standing on chairs and chanting.

The small group can be heard chanting “We hate Catholics, everybody hates Roman Catholics,” to the tune of Tiffany’s 1987 song ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’. In a statement on Twitter, the football association of Northern Ireland said the behaviour was “utterly wrong and we condemn sectarianism in any form.”

The Twitter user who uploaded the video on Monday, claimed it had been taken the day beforehand, in a Belfast pub. The user who uploaded it was not present in the pub, but stated he had been sent the video by someone who was.

By Tuesday afternoon the video had been circulated widely on social media, and viewed over 400,000 times on Twitter.

Naomi Long, leader of the Alliance Party and East Belfast MLA, described the conduct in the video as “genuinely disgusting.”

Ms Long said she hoped the Irish Football Association (IFA) would work with the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI), “to verify this clip, identify those involved and ensure they are banned from future games.”

Sinead Ennis, Sinn Féin MLA and party spokeswoman for sport, called on the IFA to act to “identify and punish those involved.”

Ms Ennis said there could be no place for such behaviour in sport. “It is a hate crime and every possible step should be taken to stamp it out,” she said.

“I have been in contact with the IFA and my party colleague, Councillor Claire Canavan has reported it to the PSNI to stress that there should be zero tolerance to such disgusting displays of hate,” Ms Ennis said.

On Sunday Northern Ireland beat Belarus 2-1 in Windsor Park, with a late goal from Josh Magennis giving them the win in the Euro 2020 qualifier match.