Earlier in the month, I sent an email to Kickitout, the UK’s leading anti-racism organisation.
I told them I was concerned that the SFA had not condemned the racist abuse that Scott Sinclair suffered at Ibrox on 29 April. They got back to me within 24 hours, and they said they wholeheartedly agreed that the abuse was dreadful and that the SFA ought to have issued a swift and unequivocal statement on the matter.
Alas that was where their influence and ability to affect the situation ended. They are an English based organisation which doesn’t comment on matters north of the border.
I accepted that statement, although their website contained articles which were highly critical of the Italian FA over the way it dealt with the Muntari situation last month.
They did recommend that I take the matter up with Show Racism The Red Card, a cross border organisation which operates in England and in Scotland and which has a branch office up here.
I thanked them for their time and attention and for the suggestion; I mailed Show Racism The Red Card as suggested, and within 24 hours I had a reply from them too, in which their national office said they would pass the matter on to the one in Scotland.
And from that point onward I heard nothing at all. It’s been five days. Show Racism The Red Card in Scotland have not uttered one word about the SFA’s silence. They haven’t even given me the courtesy of a reply. I don’t feel I owe them any further time to do so.
They held an anti-racism event at Ibrox today, which was all the opportunity they needed to make a definitive statement on the way the SFA has behaved over this.
They didn’t bother. The matter has been swept away.
The event itself was the club using their organisation to promote itself as an outward looking one. Ostensibly about educating school-kids, it was hijacked by Mark Walters reminding us all of the bad old days and presenting the club as some kind of a paragon of virtue in a diseased world.
What a joke. What a sick, sick joke. If he was Irish or Catholic he might not find them quite so wholesome. If that club ever gets serious about tackling the real problem it will be a cold day in Hell.
That game was seventeen days ago now.
There is still no hint of a delegates report. No disciplinary cases have been opened despite a deluge of abuse, a pitch invasion and the throwing of various objects, including a snooker ball, at our players. I appreciate that these things take time, but seventeen days? One could be excused for thinking the SFA doesn’t care.
One could be excused for thinking the anti-racism organisations have no intention of challenging them over it. Show Racism The Red Card did comment on the initial incident – and I applaud them for doing so – but with all respect to them, their comment has no teeth. The SFA are the governing agency here in Scotland and they didn’t say a word.
It took PFA Scotland half a week to stand up for the player, and only after Celtic itself had already tweeted its support and encouragement and numerous anti-racism messages. It was after a social media campaign to let Scott know the fans were behind him.
Of Stewart Regan not a word has been spoken. There’s been no comment from the SPFL either and the ludicrous figure of Neil Doncaster. This is unconscionable.
I said I was minded to highlight this case every single day until the SFA made comment; I could go on for a full year without them giving a shit and I know it. So I thought I would pass the matter on to the professionals, to the anti-racism organisations, and see if they could apply some pressure, and maybe force the media to do their goddamned jobs and write something on the SFA’s ghastly silence, because they’ve paid not one bit of notice to the bloggers who’ve raised it.
The simple fact is that the association which has shoved its fingers in its ears for the better part of my life when it came to anti-Irish racism and naked sectarian hate doesn’t give a monkeys about this issue and has no intention whatsoever of responding to it.
The anti-racism organisations in Scotland are good at getting their names in the paper but I’m not convinced that they care beyond that either. If they did they would have put the pressure on before now. Nil By Mouth campaigns for Strict Liability, but they ought to realise that even if that was passed it would depend on an association being prepared to enforce it and this one purely and simply is not.
The SFA is a gutless fraud of an organisation run by a rank incompetent who would be perfectly content to see the game descend into the swamp if he personally didn’t have to do something about it.
The patience of a lot of fans is now at the breaking point and increasingly more and more Celtic fans are watching the response of our own club in growing frustration and anger because they too seem incapable of forcing these people to do the right thing.