Date: 18th October 2019 at 4:39pm
Written by:

I read, with some dismay, Graeme McGarry’s article in the Evening Times today.

It is entitled “Can UEFA’s three-step protocol be the answer to eradicating sectarianism in Scottish football?”

Sounds like a good one right? Not really.

It started out as a promising piece too, because he seemed to be taking seriously the idea that at Scottish football we might impose the “three strikes” policy UEFA did in Bulgaria when faced with racist chanting, where they make two announcements over the tannoy and then take the players off the pitch.

Nil By Mouth has already spoken in favour of this, and whilst I disagree with them on many things they had this particular one spot on.

McGarry seemed to be in agreement with the central point, but at the end he completely reversed himself with the kind of closing remarks that our media, unfortunately, excels in.

“I can just imagine the look on the safety officer’s face if a referee informed them that 50 or 60,000 punters would have to be evacuated as a (Celtic-Sevco) game had been abandoned due to sectarian singing. It’s a laudable notion, but unfortunately, a practical nightmare.”

And it’s right there that he throws in the towel, resorting to one of the oldest standbys there is, the idea that this issue can’t be seriously tackled because it’s too difficult to do.

What is this “practical nightmare” garbage?

It’s easily done, and it the guilty club were punished with forfeiture of the match it would do more good than all the statements ever have.

He has a cheek to lament the SPFL’s response after this.

He got the sentiment right when he called it “mealy-mouthed”, as I did last night, but he offered nothing of his own except this nonsense that eventually “education” will sort this out.

I’ve heard it before.

We’ve been hearing it for more than 20 years.

How much longer should we wait for positive education to kick in? Another 20? What if it never does? Is there any sign of it so far?

As long as some clubs depend on the bigot’s pound for their very survival this will continue; only by forcing them to confront the issues in their own houses will it change. Everyone knows that, and our manager especially.

He made his own contribution to the debate today that was far more likely to generate results than doing nothing will.

McGarry at least had the bottle to do an article on it.

Most others simply hope this goes away, but his defeatism is the same attitude that permeates all the newsrooms and we know it well because it always has. Hey, it’s either defeatism or its some kind of sympathy with the sectarian bigots and thus is born from no wish to punish them.

But the very worst reason for doing nothing is that it might be too difficult.

That is surrendering the stands and the terraces to the goons.

Anyone who thinks that will work, anyone who thinks it is a viable strategy, hasn’t been paying attention.

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