Today, as we all know, every football match at the senior level in the UK was cancelled this morning. Fans groups across the country are in uproar about it. In England, the Football Supporters Association made a statement.
“Our view, which we shared with the football authorities, is that most supporters would have liked to go to games this weekend and pay their respect to the Queen alongside their fellow fans. Not everyone will agree, so there was no perfect decision for the football authorities, but many supporters will feel this was an opportunity missed for football to pay its own special tributes.”
For other fans, and I include myself amongst them, the whole thing is a minor embarrassment. This nation should not be brought to a standstill for ten days for the death of a public figure whose claim to fame was being born into a particular family.
That the FSA communicated this to the football authorities and were ignored is not in the least bit surprising. Football treats fans with appalling and casual disrespect. But football authorities treat the individual member clubs in exactly the same way.
I am, as you all know, interested in language and how it is deployed, and I found the Celtic statement particularly fascinating. It was short and to the point, and at the top of it was a word that almost certainly is supposed to be read literally.
“We have been informed that following meetings this morning, the Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women’s Premier League, and Scottish Highland and Lowland Football Leagues have agreed that all professional football matches will be postponed this weekend as a mark of respect following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.”
The key word there is “informed.” Not consulted.
Not “after discussions in which we were a participant” but “informed.”
In short, we were told, “this is the arrangement.”
And Celtic is not trying particularly hard to hide its displeasure over this, the use of that word tells you that in no uncertain terms.
We were let know after the fact.
After the decision had been made.
That’s all the statement basically says.
It’s nothing but a dry summary, all except for that one word which stands out a mile.
The governing bodies took this decision without a proper discussion with the clubs.
This isn’t just fans being railroaded, this is some of the teams as well.
And Celtic wants you and me and all the other fans to know that. It doesn’t matter what our preferred option would have been; nobody asked us, our “leaders” just told us what was happening after the fact.
This is not the way that this should have been done.