During the past few months SBtRC has too often had to highlight dramatic and depressing events surrounding Scottish football, these linked to sectarianism and senseless acts of violence.
Such incidents have put the national game into disrepute at the risk of drawing people, particularly young fans and families, away from the terraces. Such level of intolerance could, in the long run, have seriously damaging effects across Scottish society resulting in communities becoming increasingly divided.
During this time it has been encouraging that many high profile people from both within and outside of Scottish football have spoken out strongly against sectarianism and called out for a collective effort in moving things forward.
And forward we are moving….
Celtic FC manager Neil Lennon offered his views on those supporters who were involved in pro-IRA chanting at last week’s league match against Hearts.
In a statement on the club’s website, Lennon, said: “We all know it has been a very difficult season for Celtic and we all know what has gone on. However, we must ensure that we do all we can to uphold the club’s reputation. He then continued that although the club were delighted with the support they receive “.....in recent times, unfortunately there has been a re- emergence from a small minority, of some of the singing and chanting which is simply not acceptable around our club. All this does is tarnish the great name of Celtic and embarrass the club.”
Positive signals have also come from the Rangers support.
It has been reported that a meeting has taken place with representatives from board members of the Rangers Assembly, the Rangers Supporters Trust, and the Rangers Supporters Association. In a statement they said that "......It was agreed that any songs with references to sectarian chanting as outlined by the police and the courts must go now and remain gone”. They recognised that attitudes need to change in order to ".... create an environment that it is unacceptable to sing sectarian songs”.
In a very positive move they suggested that "self-policing" would be the most effective way of getting the message across to the "minority" of fans they said were damaging the club's reputation. We were delighted that they recognised the methods used by Show Racism the Red Card as being very effective in tackling racism in football and suggested that they could adopt the same type of action in order to address issues around sectarianism.
We at Show Bigotry the Red Card very much hope that we can work together with supporters of all allegiances to continue this positive momentum and work towards eradicating sectarianism from our communities.