Regular readers will know that this site has no time for either of Scotland’s two alleged “anti-sectarian charities.”
People too intellectually lazy or cowardly to examine the difference between political songs and racist or sectarian ones aren’t worthy of support.
People who talk a good game and yet roll out the red carpet for bigots can’t be taken seriously.
But tonight, Nil By Mouth’s Dave Scott has made an excellent intervention into the debate by praising UEFA’s decision last night to threaten Bulgarian fans with an abandonment. He is correct to point out that this hard line approach can make a difference.
I wrote about this earlier in the day, and my question was when would the Scottish governing bodies take this seriously and threaten to abandon games for sectarian singing and chants? In particular that which is often levelled at Catholic players, at grounds all over the country.
Dave Scott is right to point out that this has to tackled at last. “We have to tackle the sectarianism we see in grounds right across Scotland and we need to do it now,” he said tonight on Radio Clyde. “Tannoy announcements, players being taken off the pitch and sadly even having to close sections of the ground will all have to be viable options unless Scotland can break this depressing cycle of sectarianism in and around its grounds.”
But he was scathing about the attitude of our governing bodies up until now.
“UEFA are right to act to try and tackle this type of behaviour and it really is a sorry reflection that the SPFL ’s own (protocol) is see nothing, hear nothing, do nothing.”
This has been long lamented by this site and others, and we’ve cast doubts on whether this will ever be taken seriously by the governing bodies here. Tonight the SPFL released a statement which sums up their general attitude; talk a good game but fail to act.
“The SPFL condemns all forms of unacceptable conduct at SPFL matches. We are working closely with our member clubs and partners, including Scottish Government, the SFA and Police Scotland to address unacceptable conduct in its various forms,” the statement said.
And right there is exactly the problem I identified earlier; they are lumping sectarianism in with other forms of disorder, often those that involve a small group of individuals or even just one person. As long as Strict Liability threatens clubs with sanctions over problems caused by lone idiots or small groups they will resist the policy.
Sectarian singing involves hundreds, and often thousands, of fans.
It is a much bigger problem, by far, but this, curiously, makes it much easier to tackle, if only the game would get serious about doing it. The SPFL is presenting clubs with an unacceptable solution, and they know it. They have no intention of trying to tackle sectarianism as a single issue.
But they at least have commented tonight.
The organisation which governs the whole game here has, as per usual, said not a word.
They are a joke.
Looking for leadership there is like looking for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Only fools believe it’s there.
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