Yesterday I was among at Wembley for the FA Cup Semi Final between Spurs and Chelsea. As someone who remembers watching the Hillsborough disaster unfold on TV when I was nine years old, being able to pay my respects to those who so tragically died attending a game just like I did, was important. I, like many thousands of others at Wembley and across the country yesterday was denied that chance.
Upsetting and offensive chanting
marred the minute of silence so much that referee Martin Atkinson did one thing right yesterday and cut it short. It has been widely reported today that this was a minority of Chelsea fans. That was so, but unfortunately many more engaged in the same chanting before the game, outside the stadium. This was also peppered with regular anti-Semitic chants at the Spurs Jewish background.
Chelsea have rightly condemned this, but more must be done to stop this. I've been attending matches like this for many years and the atmosphere has changed little. While many in the UK can exclaim their anger at FIFA chief Sepp Blatter's ill advised comments about racism, we still need to get our house in order.
While monkey chanting at black players is thankfully now a thing of the past, many more subtle forms of racist and seriously offensive chanting still pollutes British football.
It is time for clubs like Chelsea and Spurs to take this matter head on and ban fans who engage in such despicable behaviour - as happened when Spurs fans were prosecuted for offensive chanting at Portsmouth a few years ago.
It will only take a concerted campaign to rid football of this. The victims of Hillsborough deserve it. English football needs it if it is to continue to take the moral high ground on issues of discrimination as it so often does.
Posted By Tim McLoughlin to Tim McLoughlin
on 4/16/2012 11:19:00 AM