Anti-sectarian charities appeal for calm at Old Firm match

Bin the bigotry web

Nil by Mouth and Stand Up to Sectarianism hope the work they have carried out over the last few years will come to fruition on Sunday

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30th January 2015 by Paul Cardwell 1 Comment

Anti-sectarian campaign groups in Scotland have appealed for calm ahead of this weekend’s first Old Firm football match in almost three years.

With the eyes of the world on Glasgow on Sunday, both Nil by Mouth and Stand Up to Sectarianism hope the normally powderkeg match will pass without trouble and not impact on the country’s reputation.

Nil by Mouth campaign director Dave Scott admits the match’s past does however cause concern.

“No one wants to pre-empt disorder but history paints a depressing picture,” he said.

“This is a fixture which runs much deeper in the Scottish psyche than a simple 90-minute game of football and outside of the clubs fan bases few have missed it. 

No one wants to pre-empt disorder but history paints a depressing picture - Dave Scott

“We'd ask people to support their team positivity rather than go out of their way to antagonise and provoke others.

“There is global media interest in the return of this fixture and will impact on Scotland's reputation around the world.”

Media coverage of the league cup semi-final meeting has grown ever since the clubs were drawn together in November – one tabloid this week even claimed Police Scotland has been teaching rookie cops the words to sectarian songs in order to recognise a breach of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act.

Both Nil By Mouth and Stand Up To Sectarianism have also ramped up their campaigns to coincide with the game. 

As well as individual work they have each teamed up with Glasgow-based vehicle advertising company Agripa and North Lanarkshire Council to design a series of adverts which feature on the local authority’s bin lorries (pictured above) reminding people of the consequences of sectarianism.

Stand Up to Sectarianism’s senior development worker Peter Johnson said he hoped the work his organisation has done with small grassroots youth organisations to address sectarianism as it arises is not undone in 90 minutes.

He added: “Football has played only a small part in the way young people perceive sectarianism and this weekend’s Old Firm game has the potential to expose the efforts of these young people to counter-productive messages and old bigotries.

“It is our hope that supporters and the police focus on the desire of thousands of young people to see sectarian behaviours in Scotland consigned to history whether that is expressed in song, gestures or flags.”

3rd February 2015 by Anon

Rich coming from North Lanarkshire Council. Rife with anti Protestant sectarianism but does nothing. They are Only concerned when it's the other way round.