Alliance Sports Spokeperson Michael Long is writing to Glentoran Football Club to ask it to consider increasing the number of its ticket outlets to include neutral shops.
Councillor Long — a Glentoran fan himself — is taking the action after it was revealed that the only ticket outlet outside the club’s Oval ground sells paramilitary memorabilia and flags.
Cllr Long stated: “I believe it would be in Glentoran’s best interest to widen its number of ticket outlets, as not everyone can get to the Oval easily, and many fans feel uncomfortable entering a shop selling paramilitary flags.
“If Rangers refuses to sell tickets for its games in the Union Jack Shop, I think Glentoran needs to look seriously at supplying tickets in neutral outlets. By expanding its operation, the club could also attract new fans and demonstrate its commitment to non-sectarianism.
Cllr Long welcomed moves in Scotland this week to tackle sectarianism in sport, and backed IFA Community Relations Officer Michael Boyd’s call for the government and politicians here to follow the Scottish lead: “If the Scottish Executive’s new proposals to beat bigotry in sport applied in Northern Ireland, traders selling offensive sectarian material like paramilitary memorabilia at matches would be breaking the law.
“If the Scottish proposals applied here, it would also mean clubs having to look again at how selling tickets from shops that also display sectarian paramilitary material sits alongside their community relations and anti-sectarian policies.”
The Scottish Executive’s proposals can be read at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/2545723.stm
IFA Community Relations Officer Michael Boyd’s statement can be read here: