‘Sing Something Else’ – that’s the message of a hard-hitting new online campaign aimed at encouraging people to stop chanting sectarian songs and slogans at football matches in Scotland.
The campaign is being launched by leading charity Nil by Mouth as part of its efforts to tackle sectarian attitudes in society and will feature three short films focusing on the legal, physical and emotional consequences of bigoted chanting from the perspective of a police officer, nurse and father. With the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act set to be repealed campaigners want fans to reflect on the consequences of sectarian chanting on individuals and society.
The videos are already available on YouTube and the Nil by Mouth website and the charity are asking football clubs and fan groups to share the hard-hitting message through their social media platforms in order to reach as many people as possible. High Schools in Gourock have already got behind the campaign and will later this month hold a song competition where pupils will adapt current football chants and songs to promote messages of tolerance and change.
Nil by Mouth was set up by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson in response to the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott in 1995 as he made his way home from a football match in the city. Mark’s killer singled him out because of the colour of the scarf he was wearing. Every year hundreds of people are arrested for sectarian abuse across Scotland with, on average, more than a third being directly related to football.
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said: “Sectarian singing and chanting remains a very real issue in Scotland and as the debate around the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act proves there are no easy answers to the problem. That is why we feel there is a need for a campaign that highlights the very real human consequences of such behaviour, which can range from the courtroom to the employment tribunal to the accident and emergency ward. The ‘Father and Son’ video is particularly poignant as we have worked with several men whose sectarian behaviour has cost them their relationships with their children and many more who have expressed their regret that their kids have learned sectarian words or slogans from the mouths of their fathers.
We have always found that our most effective campaigns are those which harness the creativity and imagination of young people, and the quality of the films and the clarity of the message produced by the students was exceptional. We will be writing to football clubs, governing bodies, supporters groups, employers, student unions and equality groups asking them to share this powerful message far and wide.
It’s 2018 and truly time people learned to ‘sing something else.’”