So now we know what the official FA line is on the abuse by Tottenham supporters of Sol Campbel. After the police refused to act, and the FA said that the situation should go back to Portsmouth for them to make a complaint, and Portsmouth saying they can’t act unless Sol makes a complaint, David Triesman, bigwig of the Football Association has now said that Tottenham should act and ban the supporters involved.
The word “should ” is interesting here. There was no “should” when the FA complained about Croatian supporters. Instead they gave Rio Ferdinand a script which talked about the need to throw Croatia out of tournaments, close grounds, and dock points. None of this pass the parcel stuff throwing the problem between different bodies.
But when racism and homophobia is closer to home nothing but nothing moves.
As the FA is the governing body concerned they are left looking as racist and homophobic as the Tottenham fans who abused Sol Campbell, and as inept as the authorities at Portsmouth who allowed the game to go ahead, knowing full well what would happen in terms of abuse, without suitable police presence to deal with the issue.
In the end Croatia got fined £15,000 and that was deemed too little. But it was £15,000 more than Tottenham were fined. I am not saying that was anything like enough, but it is at least a start.
However a few decent people have not given up on the story. Peter Tatchell, who regularly campaigns for human rights, is going to give a speech at the Football Association’s headquarters today and according to the Guardian he is going to use it to attack the FA itself. The conference is called, “Homophobia: Football’s Final Taboo”, and has been set up by the Kick It Out campaign.
Mr Tatchell is just about the only person of fame who has picked up on the Tottenham / Portsmouth affair and he will tell the FA that it is doing sweet FA (although perhaps slightly more politely.)
There is no doubt that the FA is a total affront to anyone who believes in the need to oppose racism and homophobia, for it has not even had the gall to call Portsmouth, Tottenham and the police together to investigate what went wrong and why, let alone take action against those responsible.
Arsenal has a long history of being opposed to the FA – it was the FA that tried to stop Woolwich Arsenal turning professional, and it was the FA that instructed all its London teams not to play against Arsenal when the club did become a professional side. It was the FA that did nothing about the match fixing of Manchester U and Liverpool in the early part of the 20th century, and in the end the only organisation that stood with Arsenal throughout that time was the Football League.
It really is appalling that a club with the standards of decency that are inherent in Arsenal should be forced to kow-tow to the whims of the racist and homophobic FA, and it would be a great step forward if Arsenal joined with other clubs that truly aim to kick racism and homophobia out of football if they could form or join a new organisation that by-passed the FA, leaving the FA to play their little international games whenever they wanted, and leaving those of us who pay for their outrageous behaviour to watch the team whose salaries we contribute towards.
Sadly, until the FA is recognised as supporting racism through its absolute refusal to act against racist behaviour, then clubs like Arsenal will be tainted by their association with this utterly disgraceful and disgraced organisation.