Clubs from across the men’s and women’s leagues unite to end on-field and online abuse

Scottish FA to hold discussions with Facebook to discuss social media deterrents

The Scottish FA has held talks with clubs from across men’s and women’s football to eradicate racism from the national game.

Representatives from clubs across the four Scottish Professional Football Leagues , Scottish Women’s Football and the Scottish Football pyramid joined a series of virtual forums, by division, to debate and consult on ways in which Scottish football can implement a co-ordinated strategy to tackle abuse on the field of play and online.

An impassioned statement was made to attendees by Aamer Anwar, the legal representative to Glen Kamara, the Rangers midfielder who experienced alleged racist abuse during the club’s recent UEFA Europa League tie against Slavia Prague.

As well as senior management representation from clubs, players such as Rangers captain James Tavernier, Aberdeen’s goalkeeper, Joe Lewis, Kilmarnock’s Gary Dicker and Livingston’s Marvin Bartley were also in attendance and provided their own insights and perspectives on the subjects.

The meetings were chaired by Scottish FA Diversity and Inclusion Manager David McArdle, who, along with representatives from Show Racism the Red Card, focused the debate on three key areas:

-          Discriminatory abuse received through social media including challenging racism, sexism and all forms of unacceptable abuse.

-          Educating players and staff on discriminatory language on and around the playing field.

-          Harnessing the power of Scottish football to deliver a collective approach to ending abuse. 

The meetings took place before Scotland players took a stand against racism again before kick-off in their FIFA World Cup Qualification match against the Faroe Islands at Hampden Park.

Facebook, the global social media platform, have agreed to be part of the ongoing discussion.   

Scottish FA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell: “It is hugely encouraging that Scottish football is united in tackling discrimination head-on.

“With a cross-section of the game represented today the imperative now is to continue the momentum and dialogue with key stakeholders – including social media companies - to take the necessary practical steps to eradicating racism.

David McArdle, Scottish FA Diversity and Inclusion Manager, said: “Today’s meetings created open and constructive dialogue, with a variety of ideas suggested on how to deal with the issue of discrimination in Scottish football.

“With social media so high on the agenda at the summit, we were pleased to have Facebook reach out to us prior to the summit to offer to engage in proactive discussions about how they can help Scottish football combat discriminatory abuse on their platforms.

“We will now collate the collective conversations from today to formulate a draft plan of action of action, which will work in tandem with the Scottish FA’s existing Football Unites strategy on tackling discrimination.