The Royal British Legion have condemned the abuse suffered by James McClean because of his choice not to wear a poppy, describing it as intolerable.

The Legion, which supports former British servicemen, sells poppies as a fund-raiser every November.

McClean is one of several footballers who have opted against wearing a poppy on the front of their jersey - he often receives abuse and threats for his decision. 

Earlier this week, McClean's wife Erin referenced a threat received about burning down their family home in England.

A message has since been sent to McClean's brother Patrick, saying that "rather than burning down the family home, they would rather tie James to a chair and set him on fire" and make his wife Erin and their children view.  

McClean said watching the effect it has on his wife, and that she has to go through it because of their marriage, is just one burden to carry from the many years of receiving messages

McClean believes that he has become a figure of hatred in England because of children and adults being influenced by family members or through the media. He feels he has been painted as someone who is anti-British, with his decision to not wear a poppy becoming the catalyst for much of the abuse.

Now the Legion have come out in support of McClean's choice to not wear a poppy and in a statement, said that those abusing and threatening the Derryman are "contrary to everything that it stands for".

"At the Royal British Legion we believe that discrimination, hatred and abusive behaviour in any form have no place in our society and should not be tolerated," a statement said.

"The poppy is a universal symbol that represents sacrifices made in the defence of freedom, and so the decision to wear it must be a matter of personal choice.

"To insist that people wear a poppy would be contrary to everything that it stands for. We offer our full support to James for exercising his right to choose not to wear a poppy."