World Cup joke sparks race row
FOR electrical shop owner Alan Coupar, the idea of offering a full refund on televisions sold in the run-up to the World Cup if England win was simply a means of shifting more merchandise.
But yesterday the retailer's "light-hearted" promotion had become dogged by controversy after it incensed one English resident who branded it "damn near racist".
The WM Coupar shop in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, has sold about 18 televisions worth more than 20,000 as a result of the offer.
Mr Coupar said he will fully refund customers if Sven-Goran Eriksson's team win in Germany.
But one disgruntled resident of the town was so irritated he wrote anonymously to his local newspaper.
The letter said: "As an Englishman living and working in Scotland I find this not only insulting but damn near racist."
He went on to claim that the offer by the shop "shamed" the town and he hoped they would discontinue the offer.
The man added: "The locals seem to think it's all very funny which annoys me even more.
"Are we not past all this William Wallace rubbish?"
Last night Mr Coupar said the complaint was a "massive over-reaction" and said, if anything, it would encourage Scots to support the English team.
"It's just a bit of fun," he said. "As a business we are looking to generate interest and it has gone down very well.
"We have footballs in the window and we are just getting into the spirit of things.
"The offer is on certain televisions but people buying washing machines have been asking if they will get their money back if the unthinkable happens.
"It is just a laugh. If anything it will make people want England to win. I think I am doing my bit for cross-Border relations"
The offer is on the 32in and 26in high-definition Sony Bravia sets, costing 1,200 and 900 respectively.
Mr Coupar said if England reach the final he will become worried, but fully intends to honour the offer.
He pointed out that Blairgowrie was home to a fair number of people who had retired from England to the area and they had all taken it in the spirit in which it was intended.
But yesterday Ian Scorgie, chairman of the Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council, said the offer may have been a "little ill thought-out".
He said: "It was intended to be a bit of fun but it seems to have backfired.
"My wife is half English and we do have friendly banter in the family. I suppose the best thing that can happen now is if England win and people get their TVs for free."
Bob Ellis, the local councillor, said: "We are a town where there are a lot of Scottish people and a lot of English people and everyone gets on together.
"I'm not sure what the fuss is about, but it seems to have touched a nerve with someone."
Although Scotland failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, fans have already started gearing up for the tournament.
Adidas have been inundated with orders for the shirt of Trinidad and Tobago and St Johnstone striker Jason Scotland. The Caribbean team faces England in the group stages and have five squad members who play in Scotland. But earlier this week Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Nationalist MSP, called on Scots to support the "Auld Enemy" in the tournament.
The party's justice spokesman, who once referred to the England football team as "the Great Satan" and backed Germany's bid to host the World Cup ahead of England's, said Scots should stop taking perverse pleasure in defeats suffered by our closest neighbour.
Meanwhile, yesterday it emerged that Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart contacted police about a website operator which warned an English businesswoman looking to relocate to Perthshire to keep away because of racism, cronyism and corruption.
Sam Mayall, from Cheshire, came very close to abandoning her plans to relocate to Perthshire as a result, but was reassured by other locals that the site was not representative of businesses in the area.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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