Cliftonville FC has said it will “not shirk its responsibilities” after one of its players convicted of distributing an indecent image of a child.
The North Belfast club dropped striker Jay Donnelly for a league match on Saturday after he admitted the charge. He will be sentenced in January.
In a statement on Saturday evening, the club said it was “acutely aware that a young woman has suffered because of Jay Donnelly’s actions”.
The club added that it feels it has a “duty of care to everyone associated at this moment in time”.
Cliftonville announced on Friday that Donnelly would not play in this weekend’s game against Dungannon Swifts.
Two feminist groups, The Belfast Feminist Network and ‘Reclaim the Night’ had planned to hold a protest at the club, but called it off after it emerged that Donnelly would not be playing.
On Saturday, Cliftonville said it would “take strong action to protect the good name of the club and our supporters”, but added: “We are also mindful not to take knee-jerk action that could impact negatively on any injured parties.”
“We acknowledge there are people both within and without our club calling for immediate action, an understandable reaction to an emotive issue.
“Cliftonville Football Club will not shirk its responsibilities to both our members and the wider community, but we again appeal for this matter to be handled in a measured fashion.
“The courts will deliberate before delivering justice, as will Cliftonville Football Club.”