In recent weeks the Scottish game has been eclipsed by the scourge of sectarian divisions, religious intolerance and violence.
There has been an unprecedented attention placed around upcoming Old Firm games with matters that have got nothing to do with the game or civil society. The situation has rapidly escalated from the increase in illegal sectarian songs at matches and orchestrated hate campaigns on fans forums, to potentially deadly devices being sent to high-profile Celtic supporters.
Show Bigotry the Red Card firmly in condemning all forms of sectarianism and religious intolerance in both our national game and society at large, applauds many prominent figures in the Scottish game and the Scottish political spectrum for speaking against the bigots while calling out for a common effort and effective measures to put a stop to it all.
Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon, who this season alone has been the target of death threats and hate campaigns, said “Hopefully all this rubbish can stop. It has nothing to do with football and we’re all fed up with it. We’re all fed up with the singing, fed up with the abuse and we just want to do our jobs’.
These sentiments have been echoed by Rangers FC management team. Walter Smith, speaking prior to last weekend’s final old firm game of the season, said: “For me, going into what is my last Old Firm game, there is no pleasure to be had. I have said before there are always nerves and anxiety and doubts. But there is no pleasure in this game on Sunday regardless of what it means or what it is”. In his condemnation of sectarian singing assistant manager Ally McCoist stated: “The players and the club will be punished by having to play our games behind closed doors - but if it's deemed to be a criminal offence, then the police should just go in and arrest these people, wherever they may be”.
Former Old Firm heroes Mark McGhee and Billy Dodds have been very vocal in their stance against sectarianism with the former being quoted saying: “…“I think there is now an opportunity to stand up and be counted. Both clubs, the SFA, everyone”, and the latter writing in his Sunday Herald column: “There needs to be a change in mentality given the way that Scottish football is going and the sooner we change it the better”.
Crucially the political leaders in the country have unified under the anti-sectarian banner. First Minister Alex Salmond said on Monday: “There will be no let-up – we will continue until we have driven all traces of sectarianism from both our beautiful game of football and from Scottish society”. While Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, called for a “renewed momentum” on sectarianism and a cross-party campaign after next month’s Scottish parliament elections.
Show Bigotry the Red Card will continue its important educational work at grass root level and calls out for all genuine football fans in Scotland to help us spread our anti-sectarian message to both young people and adults.