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Home / Latest News / Crackdown urged on anti-Welsh chants at football matches

Crackdown urged on anti-Welsh chants at football matches

There were calls last night for the authorities to crackdown on anti-Welsh chants at football matches.

It comes as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) set-out new guidelines for tackling hooligan behaviour in England and Wales.

For the first time fans are being warned about homophobic chants and abuse of players and rival supporters on social media.

Cardiff City and Swansea City supporters groups welcomed the move, but were split on whether anti-Welsh chants should be considered racist.

Cardiff City Supporters Trust chairman Tim Hartley said: “We as a trust welcome these guidelines. Cardiff was associated with poor behaviour, but the club has come a long way since the dark days of the 70s and 80s. However, we can still hear some unpleasant chants from the terraces from time to time.

“Homophobia may be one of the last taboos in football and in the same way as racist chants has been almost totally wiped out, we will work with the police to make sure such behaviour is not tolerated.”

Mr Hartley said Bluebirds fans had turned one anti-Welsh chant on its head by taking ownership of it, suggesting it was just “banter”. “Let’s not lose our sense of humour,” he added.

Swansea City supporter Jim White, who runs the www.scfc2.co.uk website, said homophobic chants were not a problem at the Liberty Stadium.

However he said there should be greater consistency in how racist chanting is policed, saying anti-Welsh songs should not be tolerated.

“I am of the view that it is racist. The next time I hear a player say something (anti-Welsh) or a group of fans say it, I will do something about it,” Mr White said.

“If you went to these people and made a remark about their nationality it would be deemed as racist. We obviously get it a lot, but I think it’s time we start to crackdown.”

He admitted, however, that with potentially hundreds of fans chanting it would be difficult for the police to get involved and single-out individuals.

“We have got to make sure people are more educated. We should start with the fans. They should decide to be more supportive of their club, rather than just abuse the other set of fans,” Mr White said.

A Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it had a zero tolerance policy for any form of racism, while Show Racism the Red Card said anti-Welsh chants were “totally inappropriate”.

“It’s maybe not comparable to the ‘N word’ in terms of its historical origins, however racism is racism,” a Show Racism the Red Card spokesman said.

“We are in 2013 and we are looking to educate the next generation of young people. We have zero tolerance for racism, whether it’s anti-Welsh or use of the ‘N word’.”

The CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) yesterday published a joint policy for dealing with violence, disorder, criminal damage and abuse at football matches this season.

Football Banning Orders (FBOs) carry a minimum duration of three years, meaning anyone receiving a ban will be stopped from travelling to the World Cup 2014 in Brazil and Euros 2016 in France.

Nick Hawkins, lead sports prosecutor at the CPS, said the overwhelming majority of football fans were well behaved and there had been a rise in recent years in the numbers of families attending matches.

“In years gone by, racist and homophobic chanting in the stands was an ugly feature of football matches across the country, but I believe we are beginning to see a shift in culture,” he said.

“Organisations such as Kick It Out and Stonewall have done much to tackle the root causes of hate crime in football, but hate crime legislation has a large part to play in this ongoing culture change; there is no room in the eyes of the law for racist or homophobic abuse on the pitch or in the stands.

“But it’s not just criminality in the stands that will be taken on. Our legal guidance on communications sent by social media clearly sets out how we will approach the abuse of players or fellow supporters online.”

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