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NIreland striker Healy apologises for ´orange´ gesture

SoccerNews in English Premier League 22 Jul 2008


Fulham and Northern Ireland striker David Healy has apologised for making a potentially sectarian gesture towards Celtic fans during a friendly at Craven Cottage at the weekend.

The 28-year-old came under fire when he mimicked an Orange marcher in Saturday's 3-1 pre-season victory by pretending to play a flute after coming on in the second half.

“I am supposed to be a role model and I can only apologise,” Healy told Ulster Television.

“It was one of those incidents that someone said something and I made a silly gesture, which I regret.”

Healy added: “I can guarantee from my point of view it will never happen again.”

Healy, who was awarded an MBE earlier this year, revived memories of former England star Paul Gascoigne's flute-playing gesture when he played for Rangers in a controversial 1998 Old Firm game.

Fulham and the Irish Football Association (IFA) will looking into the incident when the Premier League team return from a pre-season tour of South Korea.

The Orange Order is the largest Protestant organisation in Northern Ireland and is known for its frequent parades, the best-known of which takes place every July 12 to commemorate a Protestant victory over Catholic forces in 1795.

The parades have often come under fire from critics for bigotry and sectarianism.


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