Lesson to be learned after Madrid’s racist football shame

ALLIANCE Sports Spokesperson, Councillor Michael Long, has said that the disgraceful scenes of Spanish supporters engaging in racist chanting during the recent football match against England should be a wake up call to those opposed to introducing the Football Offences Act to Northern Ireland.

Cllr Long said:

“While the IFA has made huge strides forward in dealing with racist and sectarian chanting, if the scenes in Madrid were repeated here, no-one could be prosecuted for the specific act of racist chanting.

“Under the Football Offences Act, ‘supporters’ who engage in racist or sectarian chanting could be banned from all football grounds for a period of time. It has worked in England and Wales, but was never introduced here by the former Assembly’s sports minister.

“Given our particular problems, the Football Offences Act would be a useful deterrent and would allow for a more flexible range of appropriate punishments than current legislation permits.”

Cllr Long said he would raise the issue with the minister responsible for sport, Angela Smith MP, at their next meeting.

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