SFA. Sectarianism Fully Acceptable?

Charities dedicated to ridding Scotland of the scourge of sectarianism reacted swiftly to the shocking revelations, a story broken on this site, that Hugh Dallas, the chief of the Scottish Football Association’s refereeing department had, on the day of the Pope’s visit to the UK in September, sent an email “joke” intimating that His Holiness was a danger to children.A spokesperson for the anti-sectarian charity he Organisation “Nil By Mouth”
“The Hugh Dallas pope email story which appeared in the Scottish press over weekend is an almost classic example of offensive and derogatory humour which is still sadly regarded as acceptable by some individuals and employers in Scotland today. On this occasion the media interest has been generated by the nature of the individual’s public profile; however this story forces the question about how much sectarian behaviour still goes unchallenged in today’s workplaces.
Employers can be slow to realise that their legal responsibilities in terms of religion and belief lie far beyond the logistical challenges of providing prayer rooms and agreeing uniforms. Employers in Scotland need to quickly and seriously consider the responsibility placed upon them by the new Equality Act, and in its wake be both increasingly mindful of standards of conduct and sensitive to behaviour masquerading as humour. The last thing anyone wants is for humour to be outlawed in the workplace, life is grim enough as it, but then again surely we should all be able to work in an environment of mutual respect where expected standards of conduct are clear and apply to everyone. It’s time employers realised that their legal responsibilities now extend to addressing our home grown problems, even the hard to tackle ones.
Currently Nil by Mouth’s main project is about supporting employers to take the steps required to address the taboo subject of sectarianism in today’s workplace. The scheme being developed is about taking practical steps to deal with culture issue, which raise eyebrows but don’t always prompt action. The SFA are very aware of our work in this area, and I will again be offering them the opportunity to adopt our workplace scheme and accept our help to implement it. It sounds like they need it.”

The campaigning organisation “Show Racism the Red Card” which seeks to rid soccer in the UK of racism and sectarianism also condemned Dallas behaviour.
Elio Ajmone, Project Manager said:
“With reference to the recent press reports regarding Hugh Dallas, Show Bigotry the Red Card finds it unacceptable that he has made inappropriate comments about the Pope’s recent visit to Scotland.”

Kieron Brady of Celebrate Identity Challenge Intolerance said:
“The recourse of the Scottish Football Association in this is critical regarding sectarianism. If there is no action then it begs the question about the genuine nature of any campaign against religious intolerance, that is of course working on an assumption that there is an authentic effort to rid the game of this social cancer. Allowing impunity on this matter sends out all the wrong signals in a wider and social context and the thought of an organisation such as the Scottish FA suggesting that anti-Catholicism is acceptable in its own environment would only serve to reinforce many allegations that anti-Catholicism, and anti-Irishness, is an embedded ethos at varying levels within the organisation.”

Peter Kearney, Spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said:
“Hopefully the SFA will investigate thoroughly and act firmly over this matter”
These statements were made earlier in the week while the Scottish Football Association had refused to make any comment ion the affair and the man at the centre of the row, Hugh Dallas, was unavailable.
Unconfirmed reports stated that Mr. Dallas, on hearing that the row was about to break into the public domain had headed to London with his wife hoping that the row would blow over.
This afternoon SFA chief executive, Stewart Regan, issued the following statements:
“I can confirm I have looked into the circulation of the email reported in the media at the weekend. Let me state categorically that I do not condone the transmission of any email content that might cause offence to anyone.
“I have spoken with staff and the matter will now be dealt with internally, in line with the Scottish FA’s Information Systems Acceptable Use Policy.”
It remains to be seen if Hugh Dallas will be disciplined for this incident and whether or not his punishment will be made public.
Stewart Regan is rapidly finding out that you only get one chance to make a first impression.
He may have arrived in Scotland without any baggage, but he is now burdened by the organisation he now has to steer into the 21st century.

21 thoughts on “SFA. Sectarianism Fully Acceptable?

  1. sandy sinclair

    I’ve probably missed the point of the main article which appears to compare the forwarding of an email to abuse in the workplace then volumises the “offence” by alluding to diciplinary action. As I see it Dallas does not work in a Catholic organisation so his actions cannot possibly be interpreted as targeting a colleague for abuse/victimisation. The paranoia at large was never more obvious than when the same man was being felled by missiles thrown at Parkhead. How many Celtic FC security staff were fired for failures that day? How many protestations did the SFA or SPL sweep under the carpet………..all of them!

  2. Polar

    John Dalton ,

    Sorry for the spelling mistakes as i am multitasking here .. i probably should spend more time and more effort into what i write …But i try to keep my time in context with what the subject in matter is .a joke….The point being , The church of Rome in Scotland complained about Rangers fans singing the hokey cokey ,They wanted it banned and it was brought up in Westminster and it was formerly banned.Rangers never sang it and had no intention of singing it .It was s stunt to prove a lot of people correct…The point being that you cannot grasp is some people are so intollerant of others the chip on their sholder is so big they get angry at everything they see.The nursery rymme , the joke Dallas sent and The Merry Christmas that is now happy haolidays ..Were does it end ?…People get offended very very easily in my opinion…Dallas told SENT a joke , never hid it never said it and he is getting crucified for it …What is th scandal the joke or peoles overreaction…As Celtc FC owner Mr McCann once said we need to rid this club of its catholic bigots , seems our country needs reminding as well as Mr Dalton , ( as i a said ”It’s people of this kind ” in my paragraph that mr Dalton took intrest in ) .Since we can’t rid our country of these bigots we realy need to stop listening to them on all Sids Roman Catholic bigots as well as Muslims and any other as well…

  3. pablo

    ‘joe 11th nov’Your reply says it all…..

    Joke you say…..Tell that to the parents of kids whom have died at the hands of low-life individuals whom take such social issues seriously.

    Let me tell you this….you are every bit as guilty as those scumbags by actually thinking that such religious intolerance however (in your small little mind) big or small in acceptable in 2010.

  4. Gordon

    Oh my, the old ‘if the poor little mites didn’t get split up and sent to different schools it would all be ok’ line.

    I puzzle over this one. Living in Bristol and in my street alone there are kids who go to:

    – Fee paying schools
    – RC Schools
    – CoE Schools
    – Secondary Modern

    This may astound you but, last week all the kids in the street were visiting each others houses trick or treating and were made welcome in every house. My own kids were included. From my house I can see an RC Academy and Non Denominational Academy yet I don’t see intolerance and hatred between the kids on their way to school.

    This must only be a problem in Scotland and NI.

    1. Markos

      Gordon, do any of the school children in your street in Bristol leave graffiti such as FTQ, IRA, DOB or is this also a Scotland and NI problem?

    2. Johnny

      Gordon, I once lived in Bristol. Less than 100 metres from the old Black and White cafe in St Paul’s. I also got on very well with my neighbours and kids in our house mixed with the kids in the rest of the street. What I remember most was the sense of embarrassment and shame at the attitude of white folks who stood by and did nothing when the fascist thugs ran riot attacking the black households and leaving ours alone. And the outrage I felt when having called the police, they showed up and stayed at the bottom of the street while the thugs detroyed the street and smashed heads with pick handles and hammers. Colour and religion are an accident of birth. Attitude and behaviour are conscious choices – and neither Bristol, England or anywhere else in the world is innocent of violent, neanderthal, ignorant attitudes. Bristol – the centre of the British slave trade for hundreds of years is more tainted than most.

  5. Fester

    I see from the previous comments that some people have posted that the difference between ‘Political Correctness’ and ‘Insensitive Bigotry’ have been a bit confused. Christmas will still be Christmas, Easter will still be Easter and Poppies will still be worn. The fact of the matter is if you are a high ranking official within any organisation you need to be professional and respectful. Sending an email of such content through an internal work server is just stupid and immature, and it’s worse when you are a controversial figure within a game surrounded by sectarianism and bigotry. The equivalent of this within a standard company would be the same as a Manager emailing a fellow member of staff about a racially based joke, it should result in a disciplinary and I would imagine with some serious consequences. It would be classed as ‘gross misconduct’. Furthermore, if you took the example of the ref scandal where procedures weren’t followed and consciously disobeyed, it would be the equivalent of not performing data protection in a Call Centre or not following FSA procedures within a financial institute.
    Dallas’ actions would have also guaranteed him the sack in any normal industry but because it’s better to try and dismiss these things and avoid them rather than set on example of people and admit that this attitude and conduct can not continue within the game they persist. This sets a double standard to the image the SFA promotes and the practise it performs, which is cowardice and sets a terrible example within all aspects of the Scottish game and Scottish society. The SFA should also be hard lined on any fans who promote Sectarianism, Racism or any other social prejudice within the game, heavily punishing fans and clubs when practised. I don’t think clubs do enough to reduce this, putting statements on your website waxing lyrical about the clubs stance on it doesn’t do much at all. An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory and not enough action is being taken. If Sectarianism and Racism are deemed as ‘Politically Correct gone mad!’ just because they were previously accepted in a bygone age of inequality doesn’t mean it should stand now.
    So let us kick these ills out of our game and have some good old fashion secular hatred between our clubs rather than Sectarianism, I’m sick of Glasgow being referred to as ‘Belfast Light’. It’s time to step out the shadows on and off the pitch.

  6. Ossie

    The ONLY way to try and get rid of sectarianism in Scotland is to get rid of ALL ‘faith’ schools and get local kids going to the local school, instead of being bused miles away!
    Then the OLD FIRM must merge, and then maybe Glasgow United MAY get into the Premiership. But as John Lennon once said…”maybe I’m a dreamer….”

  7. Joe

    This has nothing to do with bigotry or sectarianism.

    The private email was a JOKE at the expense of a public figure. It happened to be the Pope as he was visiting Scotland at the time.

    If you didn’t find it funny, tough. Dry your eyes.

    Since when was any religion immune to satire or mocking? The United Kingdom is a society that prides itself on not religion/politics to seriously, and everything should be fair game. If you can’t understand that living abroad that’s your problem.

    Phil, to be honest I don’t blame you for this absurd overreaction.

    You’re a fanatical Celtic supporter, and clearly have the same paranoia-fuelled agenda as so many other Celtic supporters.

    The ‘chip’ on your shoulder could feed the 5000.

  8. Polar

    I see the Roman Catholic church are once again complaining….So people can’t sing nursery rymmes and people can’t send tasteless jokes…..
    It is people of this kind that have this country with no merry Christmass just happy holidays etc etc …What’s next no easter ,no poppy what were does it all stop ….If we are not for you we are against you WRONG ! ?….Muslims and Roman catholics seem to think the same way….It seems thye have very little tollerance for other and especially form some reason when they settle in a new country who really has done more that most counries to help them settle there…

    1. John Dalton

      Polar – Great english there son, you will be a journo for sure…

      Why the hell would catholics wanted merry christmass banned? What sort of a shit point are you trying to make? Biggest lol I have had for a long time. Very incensed about us catholics and muslims you are. Perhaps its cos our spelling skills of even the most untalented tim and muslim leave you a little envious?

  9. jinky

    get a life.any comment on zander diamond/michael paton the aberdeen fc players trading ‘jokes’ online about ‘huns’ getting run over by the popemobile? Over years, the links are clear to see,jim torbett and all the bhoys @ celtic boys club,rc church and its institutionalised abuse of youngsters over many decades,what a seedy,corrupt bunch you papists are. a massive iceberg of corruption and hatred the tip of which is only visible.

  10. Simon MacPherson

    How this can be regarded as “inappropriate behaviour” is

    Maybe it was not a joke maybe it was a serious warning.
    Whether or not you cannot accept the truth is neither here nor there.
    The truth of the matter is that the pope heads an organisation which has systematically abused children and then colluded and conspired (personally) in the concealment of it. I would say any warning issued about this man is thoroughly appropriate. The truth does hurt, now for once in your life face up to it.

    1. shaunbhoy88

      simon the truth is coming out now eh all the lies,cheating and the bigots excellent. sfa corrupt to the core oh another thing simon why didnt yous pay your taxes?????????????????????

  11. Ethel Cardew

    It’s only a wee bit of banter! For God’s sake! I’ve been involved in this type of banter in Villareal, Barcelona, Stuttgart and Manchester – alright, it was physical banter, but banter all the same. That stupid policeman who tried to trip 50 of us up deserved a wee reminder that it was the Queen’s Highway!

  12. john mc shane doro

    have been keeping up to date with your investigations on Celticminded.Firstly my thanks for the continuing pressure on the perpetrators of the sectarianism shown by the SFA and its sub-divisions.As a life-long ageing Celt I am well used to the status quo and I think some of the younger supporters would be astonished to find that the bias and prejudice has been going on since I was young and indeed before that.What the SFA cannot seem to understand is that it is no longer acceptable or legal for them to bury their heads in the sand and protect the perpetrators.Mr Regan will by now realise that his post at the SFA is a poisoned chalice and I await his reactions to see if he has the strength of character to face up to it and let the dinosaurs of Scottish football know that they MUST change or give up to younger less indoctrinated replacements.

  13. Trishb

    Excellent Phil. I particularly like Kieron Brady’s statement which spells it out clear and concise. I have actually just returned from our two day all staff meeting in London and day one was dedicated to equality and diversity and the new act. The SFA have no option but to terminate the employment of this person as his action clearly goes against what the law states. I hope that Mr Regan takes the correct and appropriate action. Well done Phil for exposing Dallas and the SFA for what they are……oh and shame on the Scottish Media for turning a blind eye AGAIN.

  14. fudster

    move along non story , the bold Shuggie goes onwards and upwards, you appear to at a loss for evidence phil, ever think you may have been tangoed….

    1. Stewart Regan


      Please clamp your beady eyes on my public statement. Evidence confirmed, internal workings behind the scenes at all that. Onwards and outwards. Thankfully there is now zero possibility of any more damning subject matter making it into the public domain…


    2. Stewart Regan


      Update: Contrary to uneducated belief, the ‘bold Shuggie’ appears to have gone onwards but not upwards. Autopsy results suggest that tangoing had no involvement in proceedings.

      Trust you and your kin are keeping well.

      Love and professional handshakes,


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