Friday, January 27, 2012

In Scotland football (soccer) rivalry is deep and bitter

GLASGOW — It was a normal Saturday game at Ibrox Stadium, home of the Rangers soccer team. A prematch fight broke out on the subway. The crowd lobbed trash onto the field. Fans of Rangers and their mutually despised opponents, Aberdeen, abused one another with traditional chants, songs and obscene gestures.

At times, it seemed that the only thing preventing a violent free-for-all was the heavy presence of police officers and security guards. And lest the message — control yourself, or face the consequences — was lost on anyone, there was a direct request from Rangers authorities.

“If you witness any form of unacceptable or offensive behavior, including sectarian singing,” a notice inserted into the ticket envelopes said, “please advise a steward or police officer.”

No one yet has been able to defuse the visceral hatred that runs through Scottish soccer. But in its latest effort to tackle game-related violence, the Scottish government recently passed a law making it illegal for fans to attack one another using religious, ethnic, regional or violent historical slurs in songs, chants, Internet postings or even stray remarks at a stadium or pub.
Read the rest here.

More nanny state foolishness.  I have no objection to some restrictions at the games themselves.  Inciting a riot has never been protected speech.  But this pretty much just feeds any concept of freedom of expression into the shredder.  Even sadder though is the image of a stadium packed with Protestants and Catholics, but not a Christian to be found anywhere.

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