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September 2017
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The week that will define the future of football

As I write, the FA are supposedly thinking about what they might do about the racist and homophobic abuse that Sol Campbell suffers every time fans of the Tiny Totts come across him. The latest incident was last weekend, when he faced abuse at least as bad as that dished out by Croatian fans in internationals. After any Croatian match the press howl about the situation – when it comes to the Tiny Totts they are more of less quiet.

Worse, Sky did a programme on Saturday lunchtime in which their panel (including to their shame two ex Arsenal players) said that there was nothing that can be done. In other words we just have to put up with racism from away fans.

The reality is of course that there was a lot that could have been done. Portsmouth could have brought in a much bigger police force and placed them among the Totts, and printed notices in the programme saying any repetition of their previous behaviour and they would be arrested. But no they didn’t.

Even with a smaller number of officials they could have started moving them two at a time out of the back of the stand.

The FA could have moved in and put a charge against the Totts of failing to control their fans and then if found guilty under their arcane procedures and rules they could deduct points, or ordered all other teams not to sell tickets to Totts fans in Tinies away games.

Anything would have been better than this dreadful game of pass the parcel in which the police ask the FA to act, the FA say they can’t unless Portsmouth complain, Portsmouth say they can’t if Sol doesn’t complain. As a correspondent of this web site recently said, we should not have to complain. It should be everyone’s right to live in a racist free society.

And let me add that I have been to huge numbers of away games of Arsenal, and of course heard the chants, and the use of the word “Yid” which I understand some members of the Jewish community find offensive. I don’t use it myself, and I note that some Totts use it about themselves (“Yid Army”) etc, so I feel unsure. But I do know I was very unhappy indeed about Arsenal supporters who went much further than this at Barnet in the summer of 2007, with their concentration camp songs, and I did my best to get them stopped. Maybe those guys are around all the time, and I just sit next to them at away games. If so, they should be stopped.

But meanwhile, just to show that they know what the really serious issues are, our wonderful Football Association is considering charging Joe Kinnear with bringing the game into disrepute because of his press conference (which I printed a few days ago, on the grounds of its humour.)

Oh and they have also decided not to charge Kinnear with breaking a touchline ban, because four years ago he got a touchline ban but was seen at the Zebras game going into the tunnel area. They will tell him off.

To my mind the FA is a disgrace, and should be removed from all involvement in football.

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