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I'm sick with stress over vile abuse on fan forum, says partner of FAI chief

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FAI chief Executive John Delaney and his girlfriend Emma English before the match. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

FAI chief Executive John Delaney and his girlfriend Emma English before the match. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

John Delaney and Emma English

John Delaney and Emma English

FAI chief Executive John Delaney and his girlfriend Emma English before the match. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile

The partner of FAI boss John Delaney has said that she hasn't been able to sleep over "disgusting cyber-bullying" posted on a football fan site.

Emma English has spoken of her distress that her children had seen some of the abusive messages posted on the You Boys In Green (YBIG) forum.

A spokesperson for the website has apologised for the posts and said that they were taken down as soon as the moderator saw them - but Ms English rejected the apology.

shocking

She called for the forum to be shut down and her partner, FAI boss John Delaney, said she has his full support over what he termed "shocking and vile" abuse.

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John Delaney and Emma English

John Delaney and Emma English

John Delaney and Emma English

The couple have been together for six months and Emma believes that she shouldn't be humiliated online because of their relationship.

"I'm devastated over it, I believe that my personal relationship with John is nothing to do with what he does professionally," Emma told the Herald. "It has taken its toll and has reached a point now where I have to speak out about it.

"It has been going on for a number of weeks and it's progressively been getting worse," she said. "There have been nights where I can't sleep and I'm just sick with the stress over it.

"It's cyber-bullying and they issued an apology, but it's useless to issue an apology when straight afterwards, they're straight back into bullying again. Some of the comments that are being posted back up are even worse."

Emma also spoke of how stressful it was for her children to be made aware of the comments about her in school.

"I have four children and some of them are of the age to be on the internet and they're being subjected to that and receiving texts from their friends saying 'Did you see what was written about your mother?'

"When I have to sit down with my younger children and explain to them what's happening, that's wrong."

But Emma was quick to note that despite her distress, she believes that the abusive comments were posted by a minority among Irish soccer fans.

But she believes the forum isn't being moderated sufficiently and should be removed.

"I absolutely could not accept their apology because of the ignorance that's following through on that thread and it's getting worse. I think that whole forum should be taken down because I think it's a breeding ground for bullying and that's all I see on it.

"I'd also like to know where their apology is to John... an apology to me is not good enough, it needs to be an apology to both of us and other people within the organisation that have also been abused on that website," she added.

"We will apologise to John in our own good time," said a spokesman for YBIG when told Emma rejected their apology because it did not include Mr Delaney.

apologISING

"We are apologising to Emma for a couple of posts on the forum that were taken down as soon as the moderator saw them.

"Our forum is very popular and has a lot of traffic, and our moderators are all volunteers," he said.

The spokesman also rejected Ms English's call for the forum to be shut down

"We will absolutely not be closing down the forum. The forum has served Irish fans so well over the last 10 years. It must also be noted that we raised between €15,000 and €20,000 for charity every year through the forum and will not be closing it down.

"Derogatory remarks are made all the time on social media so should all social media be closed down?," the spokesman added.

hnews@herald.ie


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