By Tony Attwood
It is interesting that in following up the issue of racial abuse by some Tottenham supporters in the recent match against Chelsea there has been very little commentary in the media about the history of racial abuse and nothing much on the failure of the authorities to take any action. What for example happened as a result of Harginey Borough players walking off the pitch when they suffered racial abuse in a game against Yeovil? Maybe you have heard – I certainly haven’t. Has Yeovil been fined, or disbarred from the FA Cup?
In fact it seems that this lack of information and seeming lack of action is simply the norm in England in the case of dealing with abuse.
Indeed for anyone who does more than a few seconds’ research the details of the game on 28 September 2008 will soon pop up. That was the date of Portsmouth v Tottenham, as a result of which 11 men, including three juveniles appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court in connection with alleged racist and homophobic chanting.
Hampshire police released pictures of 16 people caught on camera at the match at Fratton Park, and Superintendent Neil Sherrington said upon the release of the photos: “As part of our investigation into indecent chanting at Fratton Park, we have identified 16 people we would like to speak to. Our inquiry is aimed at identifying and putting before the court those individuals who engaged in unacceptable behaviour at this public event.
Now in the past 11 years the UK has become the leading surveillance state in the western world with more surveillance data per 1000 people than any other western country. London is the most surveilled state in the west, and indeed is the only non-Chinese city to appear in the list of the top nine surveilled cities in the world with 627,707 cameras for 9,176,530 people or 68.40 cameras per 1,000 people. Other English cities are following suit.
Given that virtually all the people in the stadium were members of Tottenham’s supporter’s registration schemes, and given the advances in photo identification matching in the past 10 years, it is inconceivable that the pictures of those spotted shouting in an aggressive manner at the moment of the alleged racist chanting cannot be extracted. Then these can be matched with known previous transgressors and those people brought in for questioning on suspicion of a racially aggravated crime.
No one was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated behaviour, even though the club will know exactly who was in which seat for the all-ticket match. Liverpool meanwhile supported Suárez who failed to apologise to Evra beyond a generalised apology to everyone for “any offence caused”
One of the excuses regularly used (and it was certainly used in relation to Tottenham) is that the police can take no action because everyone is doing it. If that is their view then there should be no fuss about the current spate of racial abuse since it means that the policy is that nothing is going to be done at all. Certainly after the Portsmouth incident there could have been the threat of a blanket ban on all Tottenham support at away games if there was ever any incident again. That would have stopped further outbreaks one way or another.
Where there is wholesale breaches of the law there really does need to be action, otherwise the law is brought into disrepute and should be reformed or removed. I think we should fight racial abuse but if we are not going to fight racial abuse then let us at least be honest about it and say, “England is a country where racial abuse is not officially condoned but no action is taken against it.”
- How much does a club have to spend on transfers to get a trophy?
- Does the team that is top after 14 games usually go on to win the league?
- How the Taliban infiltrated the World Cup and used it to maintain its war on women
- Which 4 Arsenal transfers are being mentioned the most by the media?
- Beyond any doubt Infantino is getting his way. Next: Fifa will leave Zurich