Scottish FA helped Ajax over UEFA 'Fenian Bastards' charge
After refusing to comment on UEFA imposing a partial stadium closure on Rangers over racist behaviour during a Europa League qualifier against Gibraltar side St.Joseph’s last month, a document has come to light which shows that the Scottish FA actively helped Dutch side Ajax fight a UEFA charge after they unfurled a ‘Fenian bastards’ banner in a game against Celtic in 2013.
At the time we knew that Ajax was hit by UEFA and a partial stadium closure was imposed as a result, but what failed to see the light of day at the time was the Scottish FA actively defending Ajax during the disciplinary panel.
According to the UEFA document, Ajax wrote to the Scottish FA over the term ‘Fenian’ and how they dealt with such matters domestically.
The Scottish FA’s disciplinary services manager at the time claimed that half of the Celtic support used the word ‘Fenian’ as a badge of honour, while the other half might consider it unpleasant. They added that they did not consider the word ‘Fenian’ racist and that it neither warned nor punished Celtic FC or Rangers FC for calling each other ‘Orange Bastards’ and ‘Fenian Bastards’ - further adding that it considered such provocative words part of the game!
Sectarianism part of the game? This comes straight from the Scottish FA!
This was in contrast to the Scottish Government who, at the same time, put into law the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 to target football fans over the songs, chants and behaviour in and around football grounds.
Despite Ajax, aided and abetted by the Scottish FA, fighting the charge they ultimately lost their disciplinary hearing.
But I have to question with the then-Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan or then-Scottish FA President Campbell Ogilvie allowed such a high ranking official to aid a foreign club in their fight against a UEFA charge imposed after a game with one of their own member clubs?
I also have to question despite all their PR rhetoric and anti-sectarian campaigning that an organisation like the Scottish FA believes that being called a ‘Fenian or Orange' bastard’ was part of the game - at a time when Police were arresting fans for saying just that? Why did the Scottish FA not defend the fans given their own beliefs on the matter?
Amazingly, just several months later BOTH Ogilvie and Regan were criticising member clubs for not voting through stricter regulations to combat racism and sectarianism in Scottish Football.
Two years later, however, the Scottish FA denied ever giving advice to Ajax after UEFA made the disciplinary documents public - advice that UEFA deemed ‘reckless’ - so the Scottish FA were now saying that Ajax were lying to cover their own backs?
A spokeswoman at the time, said: “The club [Ajax] was advised, in writing, that we would not provide any such statement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Scottish FA did not present the information outlined in the submissions and we are seeking clarification on this matter from UEFA.”
No such clarification was ever made public nor were the Scottish FA ever pursued on the matter.
This is just another in a long line of issues involving the Scottish FA that MUST be questioned by member clubs and shows once more that the organisation is not fit for purpose.