Racism and Soccer: New Rules To Drag Local Game Into 21st Century?

FIFA has announced -with immediate affect- severe new rules to punish clubs whose fans exhibit racist behaviour during football games. The move follows a series of incidents across Europe in which racist chanting was directed at black and asian players.
Locally, Linfield fans are in the spotlight following racist chants directed from the top club’s supporters during a recent Setanta cup match against Shelbourne.
With sectarianism- and now racism- plaguing the development of the game in the north of Ireland, could such a zero tolerance move to racism and sectarianism be part of the answer to finally removing the ‘venom’ from the terraces in our local game?

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all and Happy St. Patrick’s day,

    Good to see that the clubs are FINALLY going to do something. I guess the clubs had to wait until it became racist…the clubs didn’t do much when the issue was sectarian…anti-Catholic. That issue awhile ago with Lennon of Celtic…appalling…but nothing done. I just hope the rules will be enforced for anti-Catholic behavior rather than just racist remarks.

    posted by Kathy C

  • Jacko 92

    Kathy_C

    I can only presume that you include anti-Protestant behaviour in that as well.
    The Cliftonville fans will find that a bit of a challenge.

  • greg

    The racist and sectarian chanting by Linfield fans at Windsor Park on Monday evening was a repeat of the last Setanta Cup game a few weeks ago.

    The Linfield v Derry City game was marred by Linfield supporters singing sectarian songs some of which included references to the victims of Bloody Sunday.

  • “That issue awhile ago with Lennon of Celtic…appalling…but nothing done. “

    If you’re referring to his booing at Windsor Park
    a) It was an international, there were no ‘clubs’ involved
    b) There weren’t, AFAIK, sectarian songs, simply boos
    c) It was really the last straw which caused the fans to realise that something had to be done, leading to great efforts since then to improve international matches

    If you’re referring to his death threats – that was little or nothing to do with the local game.

    Either way it’s off topic, and getting very old.

  • GavBelfast

    Same old, same old.

    Fake concern by usual culprits for the issue at hand, used as an excuse by the same culprits to drag up old news and make very selctive, partisan points.

    As depressing as the neanderthal behaviour they don’t really care about.

  • greg

    Very few nationalists attend or support teams in the irish football league, several hundred would be a high estimate, i would say.

    Cliftonville and Newry city have an average home gate of around 200-300.

  • “Cliftonville and Newry city have an average home gate of around 200-300.”

    Probably 100-200 more than Crusaders at present 🙁

  • Dc Supporter

    The only Nationalist Team in the league is DC Celtic….a team the IFA constantly seems to have problems with….

    Strange that most Cliftonville fans now follow The Celtic!

  • GavBelfast

    This obsession with labels ….

    Funny how Linfield would be seen as a ‘loyalist’ team and yet the (playing) staff is probably about as cross-community (and more) as could be and as much if not more as any team on this island.

  • Mick Fealty

    I missed the story at the time, but didn’t Linfield provide training facilities for a Camogie team recently?

  • “Funny how Linfield would be seen as a ‘loyalist’ team and yet the (playing) staff is probably about as cross-community (and more) as could be and as much if not more as any team on this island.”

    The problem being, that their supporters are quite content singing racist and sectarian songs.

    Singing songs about the victims of bloody sunday or racist songs about those from an ethnic origin who have chosen to make their home on this island is totally unacceptable.

    Perhaps the reason that the majority of racist attacks within Belfast happen to take place in the Windsor Park area of South Belfast might go some way to explaining the chanting and mind set of Linfield fans.

    A lot of it is paramilitary led and this feeds from the loyaist paramlitary controlled areas onto the terraces of Windsor park.

  • Mr Angry

    Football is “gay”.

  • GavBelfast

    Greg,

    That’s a ridiculous amount of exaggeration and oblique thinking there. Do you go to games or are you just being fed a script?

    Can we put it down to the day and the time of night and expect that you might read what you have written there and be a trifle embarrassed or at least contrite about it in the morning?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Mick

    You’re correct. Linfield came to the rescue of the camogie outfit from the St. Mary’s teaching college, based on the Falls Road in Belfast. They had been stuck for a training pitch at the time and were immensely grateful for the generous offer.

    Linfield was also the recipient of an award by the Daily Ireland/ Andersonstown News group in recent weeks for their efforts – along with Dundalk FC- to promote cross-community and cross-border understanding. This was due to the ‘Dunfield’ initiative, which for years now has brought together youngsters from protestant Belfast with children of a similar age in Dundalk.

    Indeed, Linfield was also praised widely for the manner in which they received Derry City earlier in the Setanta Cup campaign.

    Unfortunately, some Linfield fans appear to have got their club into the media spotlight due to unsporting chants at the game earlier this week.

    What’s at issue here is how FIFA may be about to force the hand of the football authorities in the north. These new rules also include banning international teams from international competition for up to two years if the national associations do not act to stamp out racism on the terraces.

    Which prompts the obvious question: if it’s good enough for racism, then how long until a case is made to FIFA by players/ clubs/ spectators for sectarianism to be shown a similar red card by the international regulating body for football?

  • Mick Fealty

    I have to say that during one of the last NI games we had a particularly nasty troll feeding in all manner of sectarian untruths about the occurances under multiple names.

    If people are going to make such crude assertions it would be better if they could be specific, even better point to numbers to prove what they are saying.

    Otherwise there is a danger that it will just look like an attempt to stir and nothing more.

  • Mick Fealty

    That was for Greg by the way. Nice post Chris!

  • Realist

    “The problem being, that their supporters are quite content singing racist and sectarian songs.”

    The vast majority of fans are not “content” with it at all Greg, hence the following statement from Linfield Football Club on Wednesday (after a Board meeting on Tuesday evening)

    SHUN THESE OUTCASTS

    A small number of spectators sullied the name of the Alex Russell stand and that of Linfield Football Club by their sectarian and at times racist chanting during the Setanta game against Shelbourne.

    This was highly offensive to players, staff, management committee and all real supporters of the game from both clubs.

    It cannot and will not be tolerated. LFC has set up a working party to identify and exclude from the Park these outcasts with limited minds who bring their own agenda to some games.

    The vast majority of our supporters are to be congratulated for coming on such a wild evening and giving ‘the 12th man’ support on an otherwise great night. We deserve better, and none more so than our outstanding team, than these pathetic morons who debase everyone.

    We emphasise in the strongest possible terms that this type of appalling behaviour from a certain small crowd sector will not be tolerated at the club under any circumstance.

    End Of Statement.

    “Singing songs about the victims of bloody sunday or racist songs about those from an ethnic origin who have chosen to make their home on this island is totally unacceptable.”

    You, of course, are absolutely correct.

    “Perhaps the reason that the majority of racist attacks within Belfast happen to take place in the Windsor Park area of South Belfast might go some way to explaining the chanting and mind set of Linfield fans.”

    No, it doesn’t. It was no more than 10 so called Linfield fans involved in racial chanting on Monday past. They are so stupid that they failed to recognise that Linfield had a black player on the pitch giving his all for the Club.

    Linfield Football Club will never be apologising for their roots. They cannot go on apologising for a minority who threaten the Club.

    The debate on what is sectarian and what is not will make for interesting discussion within the working group.

    The Sash, King Billys On The Wall, GSTQ & Rule Brittania sectarian? I don’t think so. Inappropriate maybe.

    The Biily Boys sectarian? Definately.

    Thanks to Chris Donnelly for highlighting some of the moves that Linfield Football Club have made in recent times to rid itself of the shackles of the past.

    Work in progress. Those working to improve things deserve space to work in.

    The proud roots of Linfield Football Club will not be sacrificed or watered down for nobody tho. Why should they be?

  • ingrammartin

    Eh,

    This is not designed to prevent racism in PUB FOOTBALL but in the proper leagues of the world.

    Marty

  • Realist

    “The only Nationalist Team in the league is DC Celtic….a team the IFA constantly seems to have problems with….”

    DC Supporter

    Didn’t seem to be any problems when DC hosted the IFA Unity Cup a couple of years back…it went very well indeed.

    What problems are you talking about?

    “Strange that most Cliftonville fans now follow The Celtic!”

    Why is that?

  • I remember the match in November 1993 when Alan McLoughlin scored that goal that got us to the world cup in the USA, Windsor Park was a sectarian racist cess pit that night, complete with full audible monkey chants every time Terry Phelan and Paul McGrath touched the ball. Anyone who doesn’t beleive me, just read the papers at your local library, especially Andy Townsend’s Sunday Tribune column where he described a small kid imitating a machine gun pose with his dad at the Irish team’s bus when it was entering the stadium.
    Plus ca change!

  • Realist

    Kathy C,

    “the clubs didn’t do much when the issue was sectarian…anti-Catholic. That issue awhile ago with Lennon of Celtic…appalling…but nothing done. I just hope the rules will be enforced for anti-Catholic behavior rather than just racist remarks”

    Tell us, was Neil a Catholic when he played for Crewe Alexandra and Leicester City, or did he only convert to Catholisism when he joined Celtic?

    On the issue of tackling sectarianism, Celtic will be a good source for any club trying to tackle the problem….Celtic haven’t had their troubles to seek as far as having a significant number of sectarian bigots amongst their support base. The was most recently and graphically illustrated in Dublin a couple of weekends ago.

    The work done by groups such as Bhoys Against Bigotry is to be commended and respected.

    Corkonian,

    I shall be attending the launch in Belfast by the IFA of UEFA’s 10 Point Plan to beat racism next Friday.

    One of the guest speakers will be former ROI Manager Brian Kerr, who will be telling us of the racist hate mail and abuse coloured ROI players suffered from so called ROI fans.

    He may also talk about the racial abuse experienced by visiting Israeli players fans in Dublin last year.

    Better you actually thought about the issue before trying to demonise a particular fanbase over it.

  • GavBelfast

    Realist, as ever Corkonian and the other trolls give a toss!

    People like that don’t: they thrive on unpleasant incidents, however isolated or long ago, and however much has been done to improve things.

    Add the odd lie here, spurious allegation there, peppered with exaggerations, and voila: a blow for whatever warped thrill the Corkonians of this world get from this endless black propaganda.

    All the best to all concerned next Friday.

  • Lads. Firstly I’ll apologize for offending you both and I shouldn’t have brought up an unsavoury night, which happened over 12 years ago. However, I do stand over what I heard that night and I believe the reports on the newspapers, which followed, both the dailies and the Sundays.
    I honestly believe there are many in the Irish FA and the Irish League clubs who want to stamp out prejudice and b-i-g-o-t-r-y in the game. Linfield’s offer of the use of their training facilities to the camogie team from West Belfast was great. The southern supporters who boo the Rangers players who play at Landsdowne Road are a blemish on the game, it’s childish, petty, insular, sad and offensive.
    On a more optimistic note, it’s nice to see the Setanta Cup being played in a good spirit and the mixing of supporters from North and South is a positive way forward for football all over Ireland. Anything to breakdown the huge mistrust between North and South and bring ordinary people together gives hope for the future. Where supporters can mingle and swap stories and learn from each other.
    I deeply regret when the FAI broke away from the Irish FA in 1922 as well. After all, the North play in Green, and have the Celtic cross as their emblem, look at the success of the all Ireland rugby and cricket teams.
    In a parallel universe maybe an all-Ireland team won the World cup in 1966, beating England 4-2 in the final, with George Best, Pat Jennings, Derek Dougan, John Giles and even Eamonn Dunphy all heroes through the length and breath of the island.
    After all didn’t an all-Ireland team narrowly lose 4-3 to the World Champions Brazil in 1973 at Landsdowne Road.
    Maybe at some time in the future, like what they do in Spain around Christmas time where the provinces play friendly internationals against international teams, an all-Ireland team can play a friendly game, with no anthems and wear the North’s strip, and have the flag something like what Eddie Irivine used to adopt, a green shamrock and a white background symbolizing peace.
    Sorry for being off topic again.
    Peace to you both and sorry for offending you, I wouldn’t like it done unto me.
    All the best, and see you at the Final, Cork City versus Linfield.
    P.S. SluggerOToole has opened my mind a lot to the Northern Unionist viewpoint so Mick and all the staff, thanks for the eye-opener and all those erudite contributors from both sides, take a bow one and all.

  • Young Fogey

    Linfield – top club?

    Thanks, best laugh I’ve had in months.

  • Realist

    Corkonian,

    “On a more optimistic note, it’s nice to see the Setanta Cup being played in a good spirit and the mixing of supporters from North and South is a positive way forward for football all over Ireland. Anything to breakdown the huge mistrust between North and South and bring ordinary people together gives hope for the future. Where supporters can mingle and swap stories and learn from each other”

    I travelled from Belfast to Dublin yesterday for the Shelbourne v Linfield game.

    The supporters’ bus I travelled on was invited to Dalymount Park, home of Bohemian FC, for drinks before the game at Tolka.

    I’d say over 100 Linfield supporters were in the Dalymount bar puting much needed and appreciated Euros back into the coffers of Bohemian FC on a Monday afternoon.

    A few weeks ago, a group of Bohemian FC fans travelled up to Windsor Park on a Saturday matchday to have a day out in the Viewing Lounge at Windsor. The were extremely well received and, judging by what I witnessed, seemed to be availing of the cheaper alcohol available up here to great effect.

    There is so much going on behind the scenes to try and break down barriers. It’s a long, hard road.

    Let’s not use the Setanta Cup as a platform for rhetoric about an All Ireland team…such talk, as which scandously appeared in the match programme for Drogheda’s first ever game in the competition versus Dungannon Swifts, will serve only to put many Northern fans off the Setanta.

    The fact is that the vast majority of Northern Ireland fans do not want to “combine” with anyone, be that the Republic Of Ireland or the rest of the United Kingdom.

    Lets enjoy some of the good things that are tentatively happening without spoiling it.

    “All the best, and see you at the Final, Cork City versus Linfield.”

    In the event of that being the case, I will look forward to welcoming you to Windsor Park as that is where the game will be played if a Northern team reaches the final this year. It would be a great occassion.

    Young Fogey,

    “Linfield – top club?”

    On this island, that’s correct.