There were red cards in abundance at Scottish Football League grounds on the weekend of the 24th of October with every match seeing at least 25 however, these cards do not mark ill-discipline going into overdrive, they show The Scottish Football League’s support for the Show Raci
There were red cards in abundance at Scottish Football League grounds on the weekend of the 24th of October with every match seeing at least 25 however, these cards do not mark ill-discipline going into overdrive, they show The Scottish Football League’s support for the Show Racism the Red Card campaign.
The Scottish Football League and its member clubs wanted to raise the profile of the campaign using that weekend’s fixtures and this follows on from the support that many clubs have already given to SRTRC in the past with the aim of strengthening their position in Scotland.
In addition to increasing the awareness of SRTRC’s work in Scotland, the ‘weekend of action’ on the 24th of October will also help the SFL’s 30 member clubs underline and draw attention to the work that they are already doing in this area.
The main thrust of the message of the weekend will take place prior to the kick off at the ten scheduled League matches. The starting eleven of both teams and three match officials will gather round the centre circle each holding a large red card in the air with the message “Show Racism the Red Card.” This will be supported by a simultaneous public address announcement at each ground condemning racism.
This weekend of action is in the middle of a two week campaign of showing how football unites communities. The campaign was launched on Friday, 9th October when the Show Racism The Red Card XI took on Scottish MSP’s at football and many football fans will have seen the picture of Rangers Ally McCoist in a purple strip taking part in that game.
David Thomson, Operations Director at the SFL, said “The Scottish Football League and its clubs deplore all forms of racist behaviour. Any racist behaviour will not be tolerated at IRN-BRU Scottish Football League fixtures and clubs have also shown their support through website material and adverts in their match programmes.
“SFL clubs have been joined by players in over 40 European countries who are involved in similar events as part of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network against racism and discrimination.”
Billy Singh (below) of Show Racism the Red Card (Scotland) said, “Since establishing an office in Scotland in October 2003, the anti-racist message that Show Racism The Red Card has been promoting has received excellent support from SFL clubs, football authorities and football fans the length and breadth of Scotland and we would like to thank you for this.
“This period has not been without challenges and we urge fans to continue to support the anti-racist message. We have heard of many instances where real supporters have turned on racist fans making it clear that they are not welcome at their club.”
Singh added, “In society, racism is sadly still on the rise and there has also been an increase in fascist activity. In September, 2008, the Scottish Government published a bulletin, which showed that the total number of incidents recorded by the Police in Scotland were 4,543. These figures provide an indication to the amount of racism that our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are facing every day. We firmly believe that most racist incidents go unrecorded.
“Irresponsible groups and media outlets continue to encourage racism against citizens from minority faiths, travellers, immigrants from EU-accession countries and refugees and asylum-seekers.
“Within football, racism has been directed towards players who were born in Scotland and who elected to play for the Republic of Ireland. The campaign will continue to speak to all football clubs, the football authorities and the police to eradicate all forms of racist behaviour.”
The SRTRC campaign has had a busy year with Singh adding, “This year we have developed partnerships with a number of local authorities to deliver educational workshops combined with football coaching sessions in a number of regions. The workshops are delivered by professional footballers and professional football clubs and they are a very positive method of educating our young people about the negative impact racism has on Scottish society.”
“Football is a sport that is followed by people across the world, and football matches should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their racial or religious background. We hope you enjoy your game this weekend and ask you to support the players’ action before kick- off. We all have a part to play in showing racism the red card.”
Singh has advice for anyone that becomes aware of unacceptable conduct at grounds saying, “If you see or hear racism at any level of football, please report it to stewards or police. Our website also includes updates on the Fortnight of Action events and more information on the ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ campaign in Scotland.”
SRTRC is fully backed at the top of the SFL with David Longmuir, Chief Executive of The Scottish Football League saying “The SFL is rooted in its community ethos and that means more than just the local community. Scottish football clubs can and do play an important role in bringing people together, regardless of colour, race or creed. The SFL is firmly committed to supporting Show Racism The Red Card, and our ultimate aim is that clubs, players and fans unite to ensure that racism of any kind has no place in our football family.”
Brechin City boss Jim Duffy is another firm supporter of the work carried out by SRTRC and he was amongst a host of well known names inducted into their Hall of Fame last summer at a ceremony hosted by the Prime Minister and Raith Rovers’ fan, Gordon Brown, at Number 10 Downing Street.
Duffy said, “The Hall of Fame is where people who have worked for a number of years in this area are recognised. I have been involved for about five years now and go into primary and secondary schools to promote a positive message. There are a number of reasons I got involved and I am glad that I did because football opens doors that may not otherwise be opened and football should be used as a platform to tackle unacceptable issues.”
Duffy understated his role by saying, “I find it a bit embarrassing as I am being inducted for being civil and respectful to people. You know if people were just civil and respectful to people then a whole lot of other problems would disappear too.”
The Glebe Park boss added, “The slogan that got me hooked was that racism was ‘The maximum amount of hatred for the minimum amount of reason.’ That just brought it home to me that some people needed no reason to dislike someone and that is just not right.”
Duffy added, “It was a nice day and we were in the gardens at the back of Downing Street with the likes of singer Heather Small and major figures from football across the UK.”
Duffy was joined in the SRTRC Hall of Fame by FIFPRO’s Tony Higgins and PFA Scotland’s Chief Executive, Fraser Wishart, along with Partick Thistle Assistant Manager Gerry Britton, Dundee United Manager Craig Levein, former Hearts player Robbie Neilson, Glenafton Juniors boss and former Scotland player Derek Ferguson, Aberdeen legend Brian Irvine and Jackie McNamara Senior.
Duffy is hoping that the waving of Red Cards at the start of the game sparks an interest that will turn future generations of fans away from unacceptable conduct saying, “The waving of red cards is not an empty gesture. We aim to provoke debate and children will ask their parents why that is getting done by players. They can then be educated correctly and decide at an early age they want nothing to do with racism.”
Firhill assistant boss Britton added, “Partick Thistle is very much a community club and I am delighted to play my part in embracing all communities that the club comes into contact with. I would endorse everything that Jim has already said, as there really is no place for racism of any kind in our game.”
Queen of the South goalkeeper Ludovic Roy (bottom right) is another strong supporter of the campaign and the 32-year-old French born shot stopper is perfectly placed to talk about racism in football and Scotland as he has been on the receiving end.
Roy, who has played in Scotland for 11 years with St. Mirren, Ayr United, Livingston, Dundee and Queen of the South, explained, “I have only heard racial abuse directed at me once during my time in Scotland. That may sound acceptable to some people but it is not, as it is one time too many. I will not give the person the satisfaction of saying where it happened but it was dealt with and he was excluded from the ground.”
The Palmerston Park goalkeeper continued, “What was pleasing to see that day was that players from both sides heard it and were angry saying it was not acceptable and they were very supportive of me. The fans from the opposing team also acted and they made sure that the person who did it was taken away from the game. There is just no room for it in society and if football can be used to eradicate racism, I am delighted to be involved. Football brings all communities and cultures together however, racism divides.”
Please show your support this weekend by applauding the players and officials when they hold their red cards aloft just before kick off.