Statement on Dean Shiels
Last updated: 4.28pm, Wednesday 3rd January 2018
Fraser Wishart, Chief Executive of PFA Scotland, said: “We condemn the treatment of Dean Shiels by a small minority of Falkirk supporters. We find it extremely difficult to understand the mind set of these individuals and are sure that the vast majority of Falkirk supporters will be appalled at this behaviour and the good name of their club being tarnished in this way. Nobody, however, should have to endure such abuse at their place of work, football pitch or otherwise, and it is beyond our comprehension that anyone would think such behaviour acceptable.
“We commend Falkirk Football Club for their speedy apology and hope they will follow through on their promise of appropriate action being taken against the individuals responsible. Two of our members received lengthy bans for making discriminatory comments towards Dean last year so it seems only fair that those involved in this incident similarly face some form of punishment.
“We revert back to the results of the FIFPro World Players’ Union worldwide survey we conducted in 2016 where, worryingly, 35% of those players surveyed in Scotland said they had been threatened by fans (34% on a match day). Abuse of any form, be it verbal or physical, is wholly unacceptable as is the throwing of objects of any kind at a footballer, especially in this particularly distasteful case. The findings of this properly conducted research, in conjunction with the University of Manchester, cannot be ignored and such incidents need to be taken seriously by supporters, clubs and the football authorities.
“As we have said many times before, and only recently, a footballer’s workplace is the pitch and like any other employee he, or she, has the right to expect a safe environment in which to work in. There is a fine line between banter and abuse and our members simply ask that supporters think about their conduct towards players, and the affect it might have on the individual.”