No defence for football fans who cross the line
STUART Waiton may well have some relevant points to make with regards the shortcomings of the new Offensive Behaviour of Football Act (Another Voice, 26 August), but I do wonder how often he experiences the behaviour of the football fans that he seeks to protect. Is he a supporter of a particular club, or is he a supporter of football in general?
As a passionate sports spectator I totally understand the release that football and other sports can offer. What I do not understand is why it should be acceptable to Mr Waiton that it can be so offensive and vile.
I was privileged to be in the Olympic Stadium on the night of Team GB’s three gold medals. It was sport at its very best, with the crowd composed of many nationalities sitting together. Everyone cheered on “their” athletes without resorting to any abuse whatsoever. Contrast a week later as I walked with my son down to Easter Road for the first Edinburgh Derby of the season.
To suggest that to promote anti-sectarianism or anti-racism is a new secular religion misses the point that too many lines were and still are crossed by football supporters within Scotland. The mentality that allows a spectator to believe that by paying their entry fee at the turnstile they are entitled to scream whatever abuse at whomever and whenever should have been challenged long before now.
Mr Waiton is right to challenge our increasingly intolerant and illiberal climate. However, he is wrong to seek to do so in support of those football fans that bring themselves, their clubs and indeed the sport itself down to a gutter level.
Paul Sewell, Polmont
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