It’s been apparent for about a week now that the SFA has no intention whatsoever of taking action against Alfredo Morelos for his cut-throat gesture to the Celtic supporters. I hear today from a friend at Hampden that they have accepted Sevco’s explanation that this is a common gesture in South America to call time on a game.
I have serious doubts that it is; I do know it’s a gesture that means “you’re getting your throat cut”.
It barely seems to matter at the National Stadium that either gesture, in front of a rival support at the tail end of a tense encounter, is inflammatory.
Whether they accept Sevco’s weak and insulting “clarification” or not ought to be beside the point. Morelos did it in front of our fans. Crowd trouble has been sparked by less. For all the warnings the police and others hand out before these games, the SFA has decided that two Ibrox players have no case to answer for blatant incitement.
It is difficult to overstate how serious that is. It is a complete abrogation of responsibility on the part of the governing body. They couldn’t wait to haul up Ryan Christie, even fast-tracking the hearing. Yet Morelos gets off scott-free. Kent too. You could not make this up.
It is a decision that reeks.
It reeks of fear. Fear of the backlash. Sevco would almost certainly have released a demented statement whipping their crazier fans into a frenzy. They would have screamed “conspiracy!” They would have invoked the dark spectre of racism, and parts of the media would have gone right along with it. This was a cut-and-dried case until the hacks, en masse, called for mercy and understanding. Their conduct here has been an absolute disgrace.
It is one of the most naked examples of bias and pure partisanship I’ve seen from the sporting press in ages.
It is diabolical that Celtic has not commented on this incident since he hacks and everyone at Ibrox – and now, today, pals of Morelos from his old club – have gotten away with the most ridiculous smears on Scottish football and Scotland as a whole.
Celtic should have said that the act was provocative and that it jeopardised the safety of both players and fans. They should have said that for all the focus on Christie It was far and away the most serious disciplinary violation of the game.
Sevco would certainly have released a statement of that sort. Indeed, Scott Brown was subjected to all kinds of pressure from them and from their media pals last season, and he was celebrating in front of his own supporters at Celtic Park.
Sevco and its media lackeys have done their jobs well. Very well indeed. I have rarely seen such unity amongst the press corps as there was when they were dismissing the incident, which they did as soon as Sevco released their pathetic statement.
That statement has opened a big can of worms. How can any player be banned now for inflammatory gestures when they, or their club, can just make up arrant nonsense to explain it? Ryan Kent says his shooting gesture was a tribute to a rap song … quite what that has to do with Scottish football I do not know. Morelos’ gesture is very common in South America, as the club rightly states but I’ve never heard of it used in the context of football.
In fact, its meaning is clear. Universally so.
So much so that if you did it in any public place you’d face arrest at the very least and a serious confrontation unless you were very, very lucky.
At Sevco you don’t need to be lucky, not with the press corps right behind you, and howling mad fans who have a knack for intimidation. The SFA is either doing a favour for the Ibrox brethren or they have been scared off from taking the action they should.
Whichever it is, Celtic had better be doing more than just talking behind the scenes this time because we’re being pissed on from a great height.
No other player in Scottish football would have gotten away with a gesture like that.
We know this is true. We know it to be a fact.
The SFA’s decision has opened not just a can of worms but a trailer truck full of them and they have done so in part because they fear the media and they fear Ibrox, and showing weakness to unscrupulous people guarantees disaster.
There are some people inside Hampden who do disagree with this decision, by the way … but those saner voices appeared to have been ignored.
Don’t be surprised if Morelos is largely immune from disciplinary sanctions in the second half of this campaign.
The narrative has been so well established that he is some kind of victim in this country that I think he’s have to actually cut someone’s throat to get sent off again.