Show Racism the Red Card brought together the SPFL clubs, representatives from the Scottish Parliament, the SFA, SWF and grassroots clubs in order to showcase the need for anti-racism education throughout Scottish football.
Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing was also in attendance.
The showcase of SRtRC’s anti-racism education workshops took place at Hampden Park on 28th February at 12pm, culminating in a Q&A panel shown live on Sky Sports News and covered by BBC Reporting Scotland and STV News.
The clubs and football governing bodies were given an insight into the impact that Show Racism the Red Card’s Wales team have had and the benefits it would bring to Scottish Football. Jason Webber (SRtRC Wales) emphasised the benefits of having a reporting mechanism from taking racism seriously, to eradicating racism at all levels of the game. Jason opened the floor to an engaging discussion amongst the footballers, coaches and directors about what they considered ‘racism’, asking what they feel they should do if they witness hate crime within the game. During the discussions, a player bravely put forward their account of being racially abused on the pitch. Research shows that only 29% of people who witnessed abuse reported it and among those, 74% say as far as they know nothing happened as a result. A clear reporting mechanism for hate crime – similar to the Welsh model – is vital for our game and where there are gaps, Show Racism the Red Card will assist in any way.
David McPhee of Perth and Kinross Council then exhibited the unique partnership they have with Show Racism the Red Card, discussing the work done and its evolution across a fantastic ten-year period. This partnership has allowed many of St Johnstone FC’s community team to be trained to deliver SRtRC anti-racism workshops themselves, reaching upwards of an astonishing ten thousand young people throughout this time.
The audience were then treated to a discussion of Show Racism the Red Card’s powerful education work by Derek Ferguson and Mickey Weir. Derek, (ex Rangers and Hearts), and Mickey (ex Hibs and Millwall) have been education workers for the organisation for over 10 years and stressed the urgent need for more funding and support from the SPFL clubs, the SFA and the Scottish Government.
As the reporters and cameras were invited into the auditorium, the Q&A panel took place. Chaired by Tony Higgins (FIFPro and PFA Scotland), the guests included:
Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing
Ged Grebby, CEO of Show Racism the Red Card
Layla-Roxanne Hill, Chair of the Black Workers’ Committee of STUC
Craig Brown, former Scotland Men’s National Team Head Coach
Fiona McIntyre, Executive Officer of SWF
Mark Hateley, ex Rangers FC and current ambassador
Tosh McKinlay, ex Celtic FC and current ambassador
Jordan Allison, Show Racism the Red Card Scotland
Joe Fitzpatrick, the Sports Minister, received the first of many questions from the audience of 70+, responding in agreement that “both myself and Humza Yousaf made it very clear that we have got to the point where action must be taken.” He continued that “my job as Sports Minister is to work with the football authorities to make sure the environment is not permissive of that behaviour. The key for Show Racism the Red Card is partnerships and anything we can do, we will do in partnership with the football clubs.”
Mark Hateley added that “more has to be done to end hate crime and intolerance.
“It should not be part of society and preventing it is really all about education, education, education.”
With Show Racism the Red Card’s work, he added “children can go home now and educate their parents and carers. There’s still a long, way to go, it’s better but we must still do better.”
Layla Roxanne-Hill highlighted that the number of players and particularly managers from BAME origins is worryingly low and points to a systemic problem within our sport.
Ged Grebby backed this up with an insight into the atmosphere within the game, noting that “86 per cent of UK football supporters and 93 per cent of BAME fans have witnessed racism in the last year,” adding that “without a doubt, all the statistics show there is big rise in racism. In the UK there’s been a doubling of crimes within five years. There’s been 100,000 hate crimes reported to police.”
Against a backdrop of recent racist incidents within football in Scotland, this event has brought together many high-profile figures and key decision makers from Scottish Football into the one room. All parties must now work together to say, “enough is enough” and begin to eradicate this from our game. Anti-racism education is vital and needs to be better funded.