match behind closed doorsFSE underlines its opposition to collective punishment.

The suggestion that Glasgow Rangers could be required to play one or more future European fixtures behind closed doors as part of sanctions imposed if allegations of sectarian chanting at recent games against PSV Eindhoven are upheld, has illustrated once again the problems with collective punishments.

 

Football Supporters Europe restate our opposition to “behind closed doors” matches on the basis that they represent the punishment of the innocent to the same extent as they punish the guilty. Not only is this unjust, it also undermines the essential process of isolating the minority, and driving a wedge between them and the big majority of supporters who do not condone the behaviour under scrutiny.

FSE reaffirm our opposition to all forms of discrimination, including racist and sectarian chanting, and pledge our support to constructive efforts to remove them from the game. We regard the majority of football supporters as allies in these endeavours, part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Disciplinary sanctions which impact on the supporter group as a whole, rather than targeting those guilty of unacceptable behaviour, can have a counter-productive impact on efforts to mobilise supporters against racism and sectarianism. More constructive ideas – such as, for instance, investing monies levied in fines into supporting the positive activities of the majority of fans campaigning against sectarianism – should be explored.

Additionally, such measures can also have the unintended consequence of punishing fans of other clubs due to play in future games – fans who had no part whatsoever in the original incidents as their clubs were not involved.

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