One can understand the despair of Rangers boss Steven Gerrard over how easily a minority of fans can dismiss laudable efforts to tackle sectarianism, a Scotsman reader writes.
While the speedy Uefa response to the latest unacceptable conduct at Ibrox is commendable, the contrast with the deafening silence from the Scottish Football Authorities is not.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster is on record as saying that strict liability “doesn’t work anywhere”, a remark which implies a blinkered view. We have even had former players claiming that match reports referring to sectarianism are binned.
READ MORE: Scotland boss Steve Clarke backs Uefa’s Ibrox action over sectarianism and praises Rangers
Recently, sports consultant Dr Rosmarijn Van Kleef of the University of Neuchatel called on Scotland to catch up with Uefa “because, in the absence of a direct legal relationship with supporters, sanctioning the clubs is the only means for governing bodies to prevent disturbances”. This has been a warning shot by Uefa.
They are not bluffing. They closed the San Siro stadium and enforced closed-door matches.
They can also fine heavily, make a hefty points deduction or remove a club from a tournament.
Such measures have been successful in Russia, Ukraine, Italy and Spain, but here songs about “slashing the Orange sash” or “wading through Fenian blood” are blatantly ignored at Hampden Park. Nil by Mouth are correct to condemn the silence.
The Scottish Football authorities, in response to the Morrow Report (2017), have compiled two years of data on unacceptable conduct at Scottish football grounds but continue to refuse to let Police Scotland or the Scottish Government publish it. The findings need to be investigated by the Justice, Health and Sports committees at Holyrood.
Meanwhile,the public consultation on fan behaviour by backbench SNP MSP James Dornan should lead to accelerated legislation, to comply with Uefa regulations.
Rangers are to be congratulated for their anti-discrimination initiative last month. Chairman Dave King, to his credit, pointed out that, today, Rangers supporters and players come from many religions, cultures and backgrounds.
One can understand Steven Gerrard’s despair over how easily a minority continue to dismiss these laudable efforts.
John V Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife