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Showing Football Hatred the Red Card

October 30, 2010

The 7th annual ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ Fortnight of Action in Scotland comes to an end this weekend – but the struggle against prejudice in the game goes on.

There’s a lot of goodwill in football. The Trust movement is certainly part of that. There’s also plenty of  good-natured (if not always very polite!) rivalry between fans. But sadly there are still examples of abuse and threatening behaviour targeted at particular groups of people, things that should have no place whatsoever in our game.

As well as racism, there’s hatred based on religion and culture – concerns the fan group Kick Out Bigotry was set up to tackle. This is also one of the campaigns backed by Football for All, a Scottish charity established in 2006 to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion on the terraces and in society.

Homosexuality has been described as ‘the last taboo’ in football, and puncturing that prejudice-barrier is the aim of another important initiative, The Justin Campaign against homophobia. It takes its name and inspiration from Justin Fashanu, still the only professional footballer to come out as gay, who took his own life in May 1998.

Fashanu’s tragic death reminds us why combatting hatred of all kinds remains so important for a sport that rightly aspires to be ‘the beautiful game’.

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