‘Namecalling should not be confused with racism’

Two fans’ rights campaigners explain why they’re fighting for the right to be offensive in football grounds

Various Authors

Topics Politics

I appreciate that there is a place for a bit of rudeness and banter at matches. Quite often, it’s more entertaining than what is happening on the pitch. But aren’t race and sectarian bigotry just a bit more serious than that? Given their history, they are not laughing matters, so why not say that racial or sectarian abuse is now unacceptable?

Tony Lawrence, UK

It may sound strange, but as far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as sectarianism in Scotland. I would go further and argue that there is actually no such thing as racism in English football. There is name calling, some of it not nice, but that should not be confused with racism. If people are really concerned about racism let them protest against immigration laws or join a protest against the detention of asylum seekers rather than anoint themselves as self-appointed guardians of what people can and cannot say at the football. While it may be in bad taste and downright disrespectful, there are no football chants I would ban, be they allegedly sectarian or racist. It doesn’t mean that I approve of them, but in the current climate I think it important to defend the right of fans to sing and shout what they want, no matter how obnoxious. Incidentally, in relation to campaigns in football, the politics of anti-racism and anti-sectarianism are much worse than so-called racism and sectarianism. KR

This is a preview of the November edition of spiked plus, our exclusive ‘magazine within a magazine’ for readers who make invaluable contributions to spiked‘s fundraising drive. To read the rest of the article, sign in, or sign up, to spiked plus here.

Help spiked fight the New Normal

It’s seven months since the UK lockdown began and how many people you have round your house is still a police matter. New restrictions continue to be introduced without proper parliamentary scrutiny. Meanwhile, protests are banned and Covid Marshals are being hired to patrol a high street near you. spiked exists to fight for freedom and we will continue to challenge the illiberal New Normal. But to do so we need your help. Unlike so many things these days, spiked is completely free. We rely on the generosity of our readers to keep us going. So if you already donate to us, thank you! And if you don’t, please do consider making a donation today. One-off donations – or better yet, monthly donations – are hugely appreciated. You can find out more here. Thank you!

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics