Day: November 23, 2010

A Culture Of Abuse: Striking For Respect

In the second in the series of issues relating to abuse within the sport, Rob Freeman looks at the causes of this weekends proposed strike amongst Scottish referees. Yesterday, the Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association (SSFRA) notified the Scottish Football Association (SFA) of the intention of the nation’s referees to strike over the forthcoming weekend. This came after a vote among the thirty-two category one referees backed industrial action in the wake of increasing criticism, pressure and questions about the integrity of the game’s arbiters north of the border. The Scottish Premier League’s (SPL) view is slightly surprising with chief executive Neil Doncaster expressing disappointment, suggesting that it will be the fans of the clubs that will be hit by the strike, and vowing that the weekend’s games will go ahead by attempting to secure scab labour. This scab labour would come from lesser qualified referees in Scotland, or even go abroad for referees for the SPL’s six games this weekend. Scotland’s fourteen Category Two referees have agreed that they will not cover the games at the weekend, and at the time of writing, referees from the Republic of Ireland and Scandinavia (who both have Leagues that run in the summer and therefore don’t have fixtures this weekend) are alleged to have been approached. This is a disappointing reaction, with the League more interested in minimising it’s own disruption...

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A Culture Of Abuse: The World Of The Fanatic

Over the next few days, we will be taking a look at some issues relating to abuse within the context of football. With referees in Scotland threatening to go on strike, teams being booed from the pitch left, right and centre and internet forums and messageboards increasingly resembling bear-pits, it certainly feels as if football is “nastier” than it has been for some time. In the first of the series (and a reprint of an article written in August 2009, and subsequently re-written for When Saturday Comes in October 2009), Ian King takes a look at the culture of the “fanatic”. Let’s take a moment to try and see into the mind of the man that bought the Manchester United shirt in this story from The Guardian. He went to a sports store and spent fifty-five pounds on a replica shirt – fifty-five pounds! – and, instead of having the name of his favourite player or even his own name printed on the back of it, decided to have “YSB” (which stands for “You Scouse Bastards”, apparently), “96” and “Not Enough” printed on the back of it. Some of you may not wish to dwell upon the sort of individual that would consider this to be a good idea and the very last word in sartorial elegance but he is worth dwelling upon, because he is a symbol of...

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