SCOTLAND'S football authorities are accused of lagging decades behind the English FA after former Rangers and Scotland defender Kirk Broadfoot was handed a record ban for sectarian abuse.

The game's ruling body south of the border handed Broadfoot a 10-match suspension for launching a sectarian tirade of abuse at Wigan and Ireland's James McClean.

The ban is thought to be the longest in the history of the English game for verbal abuse.

He will also be forced to complete an education programme and pay a £7500 fine.

Campaigners have heaped praise on the English FA for their stance on the matter, with comparisons made with how clubs are also held responsible for the behaviour of fans south of the border and the decision to strip John Terry of his England captaincy over racism allegations.

Dave Scott, campaign director with leading anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth Campaign, said: "It's always disappointing when people use sectarian language and even more depressing when those with a public profile reduce themselves to such behaviour.

"We've already seen English football adopt UEFA's 'Strict Liability' principles governing offensive behaviour on and off the pitch and the length of the ban sends a clear signal from the English football authorities that this sort of behaviour isn't welcome.

"This stands in stark contrast to the decades of inaction on sectarianism by the game in Scotland."

Four years ago the then Rangers reserve keeper Grant Adam was fined for chanting a sectarian slogan outside a Glasgow nightclub.

He was dropped by the Scotland under-21 squad following the incident but reinstated five months later.

A source within Scottish football officialdom said the matter was irrelevant as Broadfoot's international career had "long since ended".

The Broadfoot incident dates back to March when Wigan and Rotherham, Broadfoot's current club, played a league game at Rotherham's New York Stadium.

Broadfoot launched a tirade of sectarian abuse at Wigan's McClean and later labelled him a cheat after he suggested the Ireland star dived to earn his side a penalty.

A strict confidentiality clause in the case which prohibits specific details of the incident being made public and earlier this week the FA and Rotherham refused to comment on the matter.

The clause was put in place for fear of any repercussions for any party in the future.

In a statement released this morning, the English Football Association confirmed the ban, handed out for a breach of Rule E3(1), stating that it was an “Aggravated Breach”.

This “includes includes a reference,whether express or implied, to any one or more of the following :- ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability.”

The English FA statement read: “Following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing, Rotherham United’s Kirk Broadfoot will serve an immediate 10-match suspension after a misconduct charge against him was found proven.

“The charge was that during a league fixture between Rotherham and Wigan Athletic on March 14 2015 Broadfoot used abusive and/or insulting words towards a member of the opposition, in breach of FA Rule E3(1).

“It was further alleged that the breach was an “Aggravated Breach” as defined by Rule E3(2).

“Broadfoot was also fined £7,500 and ordered to complete an education programme.”

McClean himself has been making headlines recently for his decision to turn away from the Union Jack during the British National Anthem before a West Brom pre-season friendly.

The winger, signed from Wigan this summer, also refused to wear a Remembrance Day poppy, claiming this was out of respect for people killed on Bloody Sunday and later explained in an open letter to supporters and the club.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis subsequently warned McClean about his actions.