Category: Politics

The OFAB – An Act Of Folly: Part Two

The story so far: The Scottish National Party (SNP) jerked its law and order knee to produce the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (Scotland) 2012, more ‘popularly’ known as the ‘Offensive Behaviour at Football Act’ (OBFA). People ‘at football,’ and others, foresaw legal and practical problems… “Rushed law is bad law” is widely-perceived legal wisdom. And the recently-deceased OBFA was SOOO rushed and bad. Ostensibly, it was passed because of unity among the overall majority of SNP members of Scotland’s parliament (MSPs) in Holyrood, Edinburgh in 2011…and repealed because of unity among the overall majority of...

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The OBFA – An Act of Folly: Part One

On 15th March, the catchily-titled Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 (OBFA) was repealed by Scotland’s parliament. In the first of two articles, Mark Murphy examines the origin of this particular species and how, as ever, the rush to produce legislation produced bad legislation. In the 1970s and 80s, the West Indies cricket team were menacingly successful, leading to calls for heavy restrictions to be put on a menace which usually came from four very fast bowlers indeed. For the cricket uninitiated, a “bouncer” is a short-pitched delivery designed to pass, and usually aimed at,...

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Boycott or Not? England & The 2018 World Cup

Well, the timing of it all has certainly been unfortunate from a sporting perspective. As the United Kingdom and Russia do their level best to make an already tense hold its breath all the more – and assuming, as we do, that the whole of these two countries aren’t reduced to no more than two large piles of radioactive dust within the next couple of months or so – attention has started to turn to the thorny subject of whether the England national football team should boycott this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia. But before we take a...

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VAR: For FIFA Finances, Not Football

The most important contribution to the recent mass debate over Video Referee Assistants (VARs) was not, mercifully, Alan Shearer’s. It wasn’t the academics at Belgium’s Catholic University (KU) of Leuven (cue howls from Rangers conspiracy theorists) ‘kinesiology’ department, who assessed the diverse data from the two-year, global experiment (‘kinesiologists’ study body movements, performance and function…nope, me neither). It wasn’t anyone from the International Football Association Board (Ifab), the archaically Home Nations “independent” guardians of football’s laws. Ifab directors include the English FA’s Martin Glenn and the Scottish FA’s Stewart Regan…and if you wish to stop reading now, I fully...

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VARs: The Pundits Results Are In

Sky News Health Correspondent Paul Kelso clearly and obviously retains many Twitter followers from his years as one of the country’s best national newspaper football writers. “Bored with VAR,” he tweeted on Wednesday, as Chelsea’s FA Cup third-round replay with Norwich gave the BBC their first opportunity to hopelessly mis-analyse VARs (Video Assistant Referees). Within 15 minutes, however, Kelso’s followers’ football discourse forced him to “actually turn on the game to see what fuss about.” To which one wag (me) responded “Fuss about Alan Shearer arse elbow differentiation inability.” As I’d feared/predicted, Shearer applied all the expertise he used...

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