Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Sectarian idiots at football games need to be dealt with by PSNI

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

Sectarian chanting occurred at Windsor Park on Tuesday night as Linfield played Cliftonville
Sectarian chanting occurred at Windsor Park on Tuesday night as Linfield played Cliftonville

Why is it always football? The blot on an otherwise illuminating sporting canvas.

Ravenhill, Casement, Down Royal, the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix, Drumbo dogs, the Odyssey and, heaven forbid, the hockey.

All classes and creeds flock in on their best behaviour. You simply do not get the sectarian idiocy that tarnished the image of local football yet again at Windsor Park on Tuesday night.

Because it isn't tolerated. You get it at football because the idiots have been conditioned to believe down the years that they can get away with it. An isolated incident it might have been but that does not make it any more acceptable.

Those neanderthal knuckle trailers aren't so thick as to spew their bile in city centre streets and bars where they know they'll be arrested or banned.

And that is where the Irish FA and authorities are failing the ordinary, decent fans who despair of the lunatic fringe.

Forget about the IFA doing anything, all soundbites and no action. Too busy travelling the world accepting accolades for supposedly 'stamping out sectarianism' (a myth) when the problem is here at home.

Let us not forget that when presented with video evidence of clearly identifiable individuals engaging in a sectarian song-fest before a Northern Ireland game in Dublin just a few years ago, they did nothing.

As for the PSNI, how is bad behaviour actionable in Shaftesbury Square on Saturday night but not in football grounds on Saturday afternoons?

The beautiful game is getting an ugly deal.

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