Sunderland AFC have issued a statement detailing the club's 'zero-tolerance policy' against all forms of discrimination ahead of Thursday' night's Championship clash with Wigan Athletic.
The Black Cats reiterated the importance of an inclusive and family-friendly environment in an official statement prior to kick-off at the DW Stadium, adding that they had seen several 'unacceptable' incidents this season.
Sunderland - led by Revels-loving veteran manager Tony Mowbray - sit tenth in the Championship after a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers, and face a Latics side with just one win since October as they fight to escape the relegation zone.
Sunderland AFC have released a statement to reiterate their 'zero-tolerance policy' on discriminatory behaviour
Sunderland issued a statement reiterating their 'zero-tolerance policy' on discriminatory behaviour
The statement comes as Sunderland prepare to take on fellow former Premier League side Wigan on the road, with Latics winger James McClean allegedly suffering multiple incidences of sectarian abuse in the reverse encounter.
'Sunderland AFC has a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of discrimination,' it read.
'Ahead of this evening’s fixture, the club reiterates the importance of all supporters experiencing an inclusive, family-friendly environment at all SAFC fixtures home and away.
'Although the vast majority of fans behave impeccably at all times, there have been numerous incidents during the 2022-23 season that are unacceptable and have resulted in ejection, stadium bans and criminal investigations.
'The club strongly condemns any supporter found to be engaging in any form of discriminatory behaviour and reminds fans that everyone attending, working or taking part in a football match has the right to feel safe, valued and included.
'SAFC encourages all supporters to continue to play their part and wishes those travelling to the DW Stadium this evening a safe and enjoyable trip to Greater Manchester.'
Wigan's James McClean was allegedly the victim of sectarian abuse at the Stadium of Light in the reverse fixture
Currently sat on 34 points from 24 games, Sunderland could potentially move up as high as fourth if several results go their way, as the Championship continues into a fascinating second half.
And the DW Stadium has proven a ready hunting ground for them in recent years, winning three of their last four matches there, and scoring at least three goals on each of those three occasions.
For Wigan - in 23rd place - another loss on Thursday night could see them begin to lose touch with safety, although a positive result would represent a huge step towards survival as they sit just three points from 18th.
The Black Cats also claimed that 2022-23 had so far seen numerous 'unacceptable' incidents