Celtic, Scottish Football, SPFL

Show Irishness The Red Card?

1406-16 001 1406-16 Referee Illustration Referee Illustration June 10, 2014 Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2014 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu  (801)422-7322

Good Afternoon (and please Vote ‘Clumpany’!).

Something slightly different is on offer from Clumpany Towers today.

I fully expect an outbreak of ‘whataboutery’ to ensue in response. Particularly from amongst those who never read this blog. But I have a question to ask and, hey, it’s my blog… [Despite rumours of it being controlled by a ‘higher power’ who never seems to pay me…]

So here goes.

This morning, my attention was grabbed by this tweet from the SPFL which mentioned ‘Show Racism The Red Card (Scotland)’ (SRTRC) and their Fortnight of Action for 2015.


I was already aware of this, not least because Celtic had already publicised the campaign four days ago. But seeing today’s tweet prompted me to look at what SRTRC’s activities involve.

[NB The below-quoted material all appears on the SRTRC website]

Here is the organisation’s overall mission statement:

Mission Statement

Show Racism The Red Card is an anti-racism educational charity. We aim to combat racism through enabling role models, who are predominately but not exclusively footballers, to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.

Show Racism The Red Card acknowledges that racism changes, as do the experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic communities in the UK. Our message and activities therefore need to be able to respond to such changes as and when appropriate.

We achieve this through:

  • Producing educational resources

  • Developing activities to encourage people, including young people, to challenge racism

  • In parts of the UK, challenging racism in the game of football and other sports.”

I then took a look at what the Organisation’s 2014-16 Business Plan had to say about Scotland (see p7 onwards).

“SRtRC organises annual school competitions in England, Scotland and Wales with an anti-racism theme… to develop an understanding of the issues around racism and offer a space for students to develop creative work which gets the message across; racism is not acceptable in modern Scotland…. The 2013 competition saw 4,500 young people take part. The competition culminates with an Awards Ceremony at Hampden Park, courtesy of the Scottish Football Association”

“We deliver anti-racism educational workshops in schools, colleges, various other educational settings and with groups of ‘hard to reach’ young people across England, Scotland and Wales.”

“In Scotland we deliver workshops in schools on the issue of sectarianism and the uptake by local authorities wishing to educate their young people on this prevalent Scottish issue has been extremely encouraging, around 10% of Scottish workshop requests are for an anti-sectarianism input… The Fortnight of Action in Scotland has been developed to take a stance against both racism and sectarianism.”

The Business Plan then goes on to discuss the annual ‘Fortnight of Action’ which is now upon us. We are told that “This period of concerted action encourages participation from all sections of communities to celebrate diversity and tackle racism.”

And in terms of specific activities during the Fortnight of Action, the plan says this:

“Fortnight of Action Scotland

a. Players ‘RED card’ action at SPFL, SJFA, Scottish Cup, Youth, SWPL & SWFL games

b. All SPFL strips carrying a ‘Show Racism and Bigotry the Red Card’ branded badge at their home game action during the Fortnight

c. SPFL clubs are asked to recommend a player as an ambassador for the fortnight and publicise this on their website and in their match day programme, complemented by a statement highlighting their continued support to the anti-racism and anti-sectarian message

d. Players wearing SRtRC t-shirts during warm-ups, training sessions

e. Anti-racism tannoy announcements

f. Articles in match programmes

g. Articles on club websites

h. Unveiling of anti-racism stadium hoardings

i. Involvement with local clubs and communities

j. Managers and Coaches wearing ‘Show Racism and Bigotry the Red Card’ pin badges during every fixture across the fortnight, and during any press/media conferences and interviews”

That’s quite a list. And the activity by both SRTRC and individual clubs has to be applauded. Unambiguously.

I did a little bit more searching and found some other resources that are made available by the campaign. These include.

A film called  ‘Rivals Not Enemies’ which “explores the issue of sectarianism within Scottish Football and Society. The film contains interviews with professional footballers, celebrities and supporters.”

An Immigration Mythbuster” fact sheet.

An extensive FAQ section which (amongst other things) explains that

“There are four parts of a person’s identity that if targeted, would be classed as racism, they are:

1.Skin Colour
2. Religion
3. Culture
4. Nationality”

The above material should give you all a good idea of what SRTRC is about.

And so now we come to my question…

By the end of the Fortnight of Action, will the typical football fan (and players) in Scotland have encountered materials and messages highlighting and confronting anti-Irish Racism?

The materials I have set out above clearly demonstrate that this would be within the scope of the campaign. And many of us know that witty ditties such as ‘The Famine Song’ continue to get an outing at various Scottish grounds and even on TV via pitch-side microphones. Including at the home of the SFA, where the campaign’s Schools Awards Ceremony will take place.

I couldn’t find any mention of “Irish” in any of the written and video materials I have quoted above [But I would be delighted to be corrected]. That may just be because the material speaks in generic terms about racism, bigotry and sectarianism. But it would be good to know how SRTRC plan to help tackle anti-Irish racism in our game.

I know some folk argue that is doesn’t exist, but I am afraid that I completely disagree!.

It isn’t as if SRTRC aren’t aware of the issue. The website of Phil Mac Giolla Bhain [grab your pens conspiracy theorists!] reported (for example) on a “Policy Change On Anti-Irish Racism”  by the campaign in 2009, and on Peter Lawwell’s unhappiness  about their lack of action later that year.

That’s six years ago.

So if you are interested in this kind of matter (and who isn’t interested in equality and basic respect for their fellow human beings?) you might like to keep an eye on how the efforts of SRTRC, clubs, administrators and others to tackle anti-Irish Racism in Scotland have matured since 2009.

It could be an interesting “Fortnight of Action”.

NB For the avoidance of doubt, I am fully aware that other sorts of discrimination and racism exist as well. They are equally abhorrent and I hope that they are expunged from our game and society too.



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