KYLE LAFFERTY has been WITHDRAWN from Northern Ireland’s squad after allegations the striker used sectarian language.

His club side Kilmarnock have opened an investigation after a video surfaced online appearing to show Lafferty using the sectarian slur ‘fenian b******’ after being tricked into posing with a member of the public who says ‘Up the Celtic.’

The Rugby Park side launched a probe after the clip circulated widely on social media.

And now, the Irish FA have taken their own action by removing Lafferty from the squad.

The 35-year old was called up to Ian Baraclough’s squad for the Nations League double header with Kosovo and Greece, the first of those games taking place on Saturday.

But now Lafferty, capped 89 times by his country, will play no part.

An Irish FA statement read: “Northern Ireland senior men’s team player Kyle Lafferty has been withdrawn from the squad ahead of the upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Kosovo and Greece.

“The Irish Football Association is aware of a social media video which has been circulated widely. The association also notes an investigation has been launched into the video by the striker’s club, Kilmarnock FC.

“A minor back problem has prevented Lafferty from participating in training since Tuesday.”

As mentioned, it comes after Kilmarnock released their own investigation into the situation.

They said: “Kilmarnock Football Club are aware of a video circulating online which appears to show a member of our playing staff using language of a sectarian nature.

“The club finds all forms of discriminatory behaviour completely unacceptable. The matter will be investigated by the club.”

“The matter will be investigated by the club.”

David Scott, of anti-sectarianism group Nil By Mouth, said it was correct that the matter should be looked into.

He said: “Regardless of whether you’re a high profile footballer or simply a fan watching a game in a pub, adults shouldn’t need to be told that this sort of language isn’t acceptable and can cause a lot offence to others.

“It reflects really bad on us in terms of our reputation, of how you’re seen, but also more importantly, it can impact dramatically on your employment prospects.

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“It’s absolutely correct that the club and hopefully the national association investigate this incident in full and get to the bottom of what’s happened.

“It’s also a reminder of the power of social media to amplify behaviour and impact on people’s reputations.”

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