UPDATE: Rangers players were CLEARED of using sectarian language as Police Scotland probe finds ‘no criminality’ after social media video emerged of them during Scottish Premiership title celebrations. The article has been updated to remove the incorrect references that Rangers players celebrated their title using sectarian language.
Racism against Japanese Celtic star Kyogo Furuhashi hit global media football headlines, putting the spotlight on Scottish football racism once again. Unsurprisingly, the perpetrators of the racist chants were supporters of Rangers FC.
Thankfully, Celtic FC, Rangers FC, the media and most of society condemned the racist chants aimed against Kyogo.
However, one repeated mantra heard since the racist video first surfaced is that there is an issue of sectarianism in Scottish football, implying that this is an issue that permeates all clubs and not only Rangers.
By continually repeating that there is a “sectarian issue,” it equates that Celtic has an equal issue of racism among its supporters, something that is absolutely and categorically wrong, even if the majority of Scottish media and pundits like to pretend otherwise.
Tom English, Chief sports writers for BBC Scotland, even had to admit that Rangers supporter forums like Follow Follow are a hive for sectarian racists against the Irish and Catholics.
Although Rangers FC quickly banned the racists, there was no mention, let alone an apology, towards Kyogo in their statement.
A Rangers fan who chanted against the Japanese striker did apologise and then disassociated himself from the Rangers East Kilbride supporters’ club.
Posting on the Westwood Rangers Supporters’ Club Whatsapp group, he wrote: “Just want to apologise to every member of the bus not acceptable behaviour.
“I’ve stepped down from the committee and won’t be back on the bus.
“Club deserve so much better and I wish bus nothing but success. Again, I’m sorry.”
Just like Rangers FC though, he made no mention of Kyogo, let alone an apology directed towards him.
Rather, the supporter was just making an apology for bringing the club into disrepute, demonstrating that he does not regret his racist actions, only the fact that he got caught.
For stepping down, without an apology to Kyogo or for his racist actions, Rangers legend Barry Ferguson went to Go Radio to say “fair play to him.”
Again, the question is why the racist fan is getting upped for stepping down from a supporters club despite making no apology for the racism, only for the fact he got caught.
In fact, Ferguson believes the issue should be “put to bed.” But it cannot just be “put to bed” as Rangers fans singing anti-Catholic and/or anti-Irish songs, or other racist chants, is an issue that has existed for well over a century.
At the time, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took aim at “selfish, bigoted” fans for their “violence and vile anti-Catholic prejudice” during the league victory celebration.
As much as Ferguson is disappointed and wants to quickly forget about the incident, his suggestion is only to cover up an issue that has been a dark shadow over Scottish football for well over a hundred years.
Instead, the focus should be resolving the issue at hand: the encouragement, protection and normality of racism within Rangers FC.
It is so normal that pundits were thrown all over Scottish media to soften Rangers global image and again allude that this is an issue all over Scottish football.
BBC Sportsound hosted former Rangers player Charlie Adam, who pathetically tried to argue that the Rangers racist incident was worthy of comparison to non-racists songs, like one about his sister’s under-garments.
It is worth noting that Adam’s brother was fined for singing “Hey, hey, f*** the Pope.”
There is undoubtedly a systemic bias in Scotland to paint over a century’s worth of the most vile anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiment emanating from Rangers.
Celtic FC was established for Irish immigrants to Glasgow escaping the British-engineered potato famine.
As the colonised people, Irish immigrants experienced intense racism when migrating to the British imperial heartland.
Despite this, they managed to forge one of the most famous football club’s in the world, often overcoming the dominance of Rangers despite the backing and support they receive from the Free Masons, who also influence the referee’s association and football association.
Of course, Masonic influence in British society is beginning to wane as the organisation falls into obscurity and irrelevancy, akin to a British Empire that has been in terminal decline since the end of World War I. That decline is now accelerating following Brexit.
Although Masonic influence in British society is weakening, in Scottish football it is still strong, so-much-so that former Rangers owner Craig Whyte said in 2019 that the club is “still very much under Masonic influence.”
This is part of the reason why Rangers FC has a disinterest in tackling anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiment that permeates around the Scottish club, and why every pro-Rangers pundit is quickly put into the spotlight to clean up the club’s global image.
However, for the casual Scottish football observer, particularly those from Japan and Australia, it appears that this is just another case of Rangers being typically Rangers.
Take another example – William Ewart, an anti-Catholic Orange Order Management Retail Advisor for Rangers FC. He was not outraged at the racism against Kyogo, only at those who filmed it.
He then called those who filmed the racism “Mongs,” ie. mongoloids/Down syndrome.
It is clear that Scotland does not have a problem with sectarianism in football, it has a problem of Rangers fans bringing sectarianism to football.
So long as Scottish media, football pundits and the wider public refuse to acknowledge this very serious issue, the racism leveled against Kyogo will not stop.
Equating the issue as also Celtic’s problem, as argued by Charlie Adams, or to be swept under the carpet like Barry Ferguson suggests, does not deal with an issue that clearly exists at Rangers, as shown by the racism against Kyogo and the tweets made by Ewart.
Rather, it shows that Scotland is unwilling to deal with racism in a serious manner in order to continue protecting the Rangers image as much as possible.
BY Alexandros Marchetos, a sports journalist usually writing in Greek.