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Top-level summit arranged after Old Firm 'shame game'


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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-12631956

A top-level summit is to be held in Scotland next week to discuss serious disorder surrounding Old Firm games.

First Minister Alex Salmond confirmed the move after an ill-tempered Scottish Cup replay at Celtic Park on Wednesday was described as "shameful".

Three Rangers players were sent off during the tie, which also saw several touch-line and tunnel confrontations and 34 arrests inside the stadium.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) is to investigate events at the match.

Continue reading the main story

Analysis

image of Chick Young Chick Young BBC football pundit

The Lennon/McCoist clash is one isolated incident in a night of, I have to say, shame for Scottish football.

This whole "crime scene" needs to be investigated and analysed from start to finish.

The behaviour of El-Hadji Diouf [Rangers player] was absolutely scandalous.

In the end here is a player who throws his top, and indeed his skins, to the fans as if he were some kind of hero when he had hardly kicked a ball for Rangers.

There was much wrong about the game, it was unbelievable.

In 40 years of covering Old Firm matches, this one is up there with one of the most scandalous I have ever seen.

I can't believe the behaviour of the people on the park and time after time I have said this is something that has a ripple effect which is felt deep into the night.

In the run up to the game, the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) - the police officers union - called for a ban on Old Firm games in Glasgow, saying they led to too much violence.

Strathclyde Police - the country's largest force - also warned it would crack down on drink-fuelled violence linked to the fixture after trouble flared in the wake of the previous match.

More than 229 people were arrested in the Strathclyde force area for offences the last time Rangers and Celtic met on 20 February in the league.

At that game 16 people were arrested within the grounds of Celtic Park for alleged offences of a sectarian nature.

Wednesday's game proved to be a heated affair on and off the pitch, with the referee dismissing three Rangers players and issuing a total of 13 yellow cards.

Rangers' forward, El-Hadji Diouf, who was the last player to be sent off after the final whistle for dissent, was involved in a touch-line spat with the Celtic coaching team in the first half.

Seconds after the final whistle, Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and Celtic manager Neil Lennon were involved in angry scenes.

Police also made 34 arrests inside the stadium for a variety of sectarian, racial and breach of the peace offences.

'Unacceptable' violence

Strathclyde Police Chief Constable Stephen House called for a top-level national summit, involving politicians and both clubs, to address the widespread social problems which surround the fixture.

A statement from the force said: "The chief constable has this morning spoken to the first minister (Alex Salmond) regarding the events that have surrounded the Old Firm games this season.

"There can be no doubt that the levels of drunken violence that have blighted our communities and the number of people who have been arrested due to their sectarian behaviour is simply unacceptable. Something has to be done.

"We have today written to the Scottish government urging them to bring all the parties together as soon as possible so that we can discuss these problems frankly and openly."

The call for action is also backed by the SPF, whose chairman Les Gray branded the scenes at Celtic Park as "disgraceful".

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "What happens on the pitch is replicated throughout the streets, the pubs and the clubs and the houses within Scotland.

"The behaviour of all those involved last night was nothing short of disgraceful.

"Something needs to happen, I'm realistic enough to know that they'll probably never stop it but we need to have a serious look at it.

Football probe

"It may well be that they'll have to look at playing the game behind closed doors for two or three times just to see how it goes. People may say it's a great advert for football, a great advert for Scottish football - that wasn't much of an advert last night."

The SFA has announced that it will conduct its own investigation into the events at Wednesday night's ill-tempered cup replay.

Chief executive Stewart Regan said: "The Scottish FA categorically condemns the inflammatory and irresponsible behaviour throughout last night's Scottish Cup replay between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park.

El-Hadji Diouf with his shirt off after match Rangers player El-Hadji Diouf pictured after throwing his shirt into the crowd at Celtic Park

"I was both saddened and deeply embarrassed to witness the scenes that unfolded during what is supposed to be Scottish football's flagship fixture.

"These images were broadcast around the world and shows our game in a poor light. I acknowledge the pressures of expectation on both clubs but last night's behaviour crossed the boundaries of acceptable conduct at a football match."

Speaking about violence connected with football, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "There is a deep-rooted and unacceptable social issue involved - which has a great deal to do with Scotland's damaging relationship with alcohol, and little to do with football.

"The issue is far wider than clubs and the game. It is about a culture of violence fuelled by alcohol.

"What we and the police are saying is watch and enjoy the football, but individuals need to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

"By all means drink responsibly and safely but do not get drunk, get violent, assault your partner or anyone else - the message is that any such conduct is utterly shameful and unacceptable.

"Win, lose or draw, drunken aggressive behaviour has no place in Scotland - it will not be tolerated, and those who step out of line will be met with the full force of the law."

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Also when Diouf was going to throw his top into the bears, the commentators were saying "He needs to get a grip of himself" Why the fuck you following him about with a camera then?

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More overreactions and downright stupidity from the police, the sfa and the government. It wasnt even that 'bad' a game apart from Lemon's behaviour which as usual is glossed over. I hope Diouf gets his lawyer onto the prick because somehow I can't see Diouf backing if Lemon said anything even remotely offensive to him.

If the ref had done his job properly none of this would have happened, because Whittaker wouldn't have been sent off in the first place but I guess its convenient to forget that and just blame Diouf - he spat on someone once didnt you know - and Rangers because after all its not as if the club will stand up and defend itself. Easy target etc.

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Coupe of small points from last night that the Police Chief may want to consider.

Yer Officers shouldnae be ejecting a fan for singing Follow Follow - it's not sectarian.

Yer Officers need tae grow a set o balls - I witnessed a fan screaming at the Septic fans in the corner, and a cop confronted him only tae be told by the fan where tae go. The cop shat himself and shuffled away quietly. I actually fuckin laughed at this and he asked me whit a wiz laughin at. I told him "The big guy wisnae long wae ye there and noo ye think yer gonny have a go at me for fuckin laughin". Again he walked away. Shitebag.

I heard a fan complaining to a cop about lennon inciting the fans when they were singing their Pro I_A songs and the cop just walked away. Should he not take action when he receives a complaint form a memebr of the public?

Small points but valid IMO if the Chief of the Cops is gonny start spoutin aff aboot the fans.

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Usual press bollocks. Diouf shows his respect for the fans at the end and will probably get hammered for it.

Boruc whips the top off to show his god bless the pope t shirt and fuck all got said about that, did it? I fucking hate those manky bead rattling begging bastards with a passion. And the police. And the SFA. Fuck the whole lot of them!

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The powers that be go on and on and on about "a deep-rooted and unacceptable social issue" yet they consistently fail to address what that issue is and its staring them in the face.

Unfortunately we can't debate it in a grown up, rational manner because people like the RC propoganda off ice will call us all bigots.

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on diouf running to the fans...i can remember o'neill, boruc and lennon doing similar things after defeat in recent seasons...it's hardly a new thing to do...

....aye, O'neill encouraging The Ned when he lost the plot.....and the media praised them for being so passionate!

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Police want Old Firm games to be played behind closed doors.

Never in my life have I seen such an overreaction, the powers of this country are utter shitebags

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Also when Diouf was going to throw his top into the bears, the commentators were saying "He needs to get a grip of himself" Why the fuck you following him about with a camera then?

It's one of those biased comments ... if that was one of their players doing that it would be all about passion and those wonderful fans :rolleyes:

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It'll be the usual summit. The talk of need for responsibility. Cutting down on access to alcohol. Perhaps banning away fans. Banning provoctive flags. Compulsory stewarding in pubs.

The debate will be widened into sectarianism. Rangers will shoulder the blame for that.

Then the issue of segregated schools will enter the debate and everything will go quiet.

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How the fuck did this guy get the job he's in?

A wee bit of passion at a football match that puts a wee bit of pressure on his cops and he wants tae ban the biggest sporting event in the country, which is shown worldwide?

Would he really like tae put hundreds of people out of work because his cops canny handle the occasion?

He needs tae have a good look at how he runs his police force, and their obvious failings in many areas, before he starts tae mouth aff aboot 2 football managers having a wee argument after a game of football.

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How the fuck did this guy get the job he's in?

A wee bit of passion at a football match that puts a wee bit of pressure on his cops and he wants tae ban the biggest sporting event in the country, which is shown worldwide?

Would he really like tae put hundreds of people out of work because his cops canny handle the occasion?

He needs tae have a good look at how he runs his police force, and their obvious failings in many areas, before he starts tae mouth aff aboot 2 football managers having a wee argument after a game of football.

I don't even think this guy runs the police. I think he's the union man.

I think he's backed off on the cost of policing. 'Cos the Gleneagles economic summit, the peace conference in St Andrews, and the Pope's visit cost a fortune to police. Was he suggesting that they shouldn't have gone ahead?

I think there should be an enquiry into policing in Scotland.

I've seen Orange parades where there are almost as many police personnel as Orangemen.

What was the cost of policing the Pope's visit, where minimal security was required?

Yes, let's have a summit, let's have a debate. Let's include the level of policing, and the cost of policing. Let's compare policing at the various sporting, political, and religious events.

Let the police explain their method of collection of statitical evidence, that lays blames Old Firm matches for crime.

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