Thursday, April 07, 2011

Up To Their Knees In Fines And Bans

Rangers are to face a UEFA disciplinary hearing over sectarian singing during last month's Europa League match away to PSV Eindhoven...  The chief executive stressed that the club condemned sectarian singing and that had "been made clear time and again"... (Chief executive Martin Bain said) "It has also become clear that there are people who have been determined to undermine our club at any cost and have constantly lobbied Uefa and other organisations to take action against Rangers." - BBC News

So.   Group (x) is caught out in some form of reprehensible behaviour; its defence is that other people do the same or worse and that anyway, they're only being targeted because of the biased, hateful and politically-motivated machinations of some unnamed yet undoubtedly malicious coterie.

It's not often I'll say this, but I actually sympathise with Rangers' predicament here. [1]  Naturally, I don't think they've done enough to deal with the horrible bullshit that pours off the terraces, but I acknowledge that the club itself have tried to tackle the issue and I believe that the management would love nothing more than an end to sectarian chanting, even if only for a quiet life.

Still, note the club's defence.  Would Other people steal more stuff than I do stand up in any court in the land, or would The prosecution lawyers hate us because we're (x) see any trial wound up for prejudicial treatment?  I don't think so.

I raise this as part of my ongoing quest to prove that the partisan mentalities of football fans are an excellent analogy for those of politicians and politics enthusiasts.  Within their own milieu, Rangers are correct - their fans' behaviour is bad, but it pales in comparison to fans of, say, Italian bastards Lazio, or the various terrifying nutters who follow teams from the former Yugoslavia. [2]  Even so, the supporters in question are still clearly guilty.

Only in politics or football would people tell you with a straight face that your eyes or ears are lying to you.  I've watched defenders perpetrate scything assaults that would earn them jail sentences in any other walk of life, only to be told that resulting punishment is politically motivated.  I've seen slo-mo footage of footballs either crossing or falling short of goal lines, and heard people argue the exact opposite of the evidence.

This isn't just a Scottish thing, either - witness Arsene Wenger's selective eyesight, or the wildly differing ways in which English commentators treat simulation by home-grown and foreign players.  Readers from other countries can provide their own examples, no doubt.

Hell, I'd hope that most readers would regard me as a fairly reasonable and rational person, and yet I remain convinced that the Scottish football authorities are quietly biased towards Rangers, even though I know full well that the recent evidence is flimsy at best and that almost everyone else making that claim sounds like a paranoid lunatic.  To be clear, I'm admitting right here that I know that I hold an irrational belief, and yet I still believe it to be true.

If that's the case with me, what chance of arguing round people prone to angry waffle about cultural Marxism,  or some other mad form of conspiracy theory?  None, is my guess.  Some academic type should write up a study, I think.

Not that I have a solution, of course.  Like all other bloggers, I merely seek validation.

1.  Rangers the club, that is, not Rangers fans, and certainly not the sections that have brought this action upon their team.  They're hoist by their own petard, and if Celtic fans were regularly attracting adverse attention from UEFA, I'd be howling for them to be kicked out of the ground.  European football is what separates Scottish football from its equivalent in Wales or Northern Ireland, and without it we'd be toast.

2.  Or Nazio, as I prefer.  Also, Croatian fans once famously formed a human swastika at a friendly with Italy, which remains one of the most outstandingly offensive things I've ever seen at a football match, even though the first game I ever went to was Hearts v Celtic in 92 when the Jambos had Maurice Johnstone and Justin Fashanu up front.

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