Before kick-off today, Saturday 16 October, all fifteen 1st, 2nd and 3rd Division Bell's Scottish Football League games will see players from both teams joining forces to 'show racism the red card'. This will coincide with tannoy announcements, articles in match programmes and on club websites condemning racism, not only in Scottish football but also in Scottish society. This marks the official launch of the SRTRC campaign in the SFL and we look forward to expanding our work with supporters over the coming years to stamp racism out of the game. For the first time, we will also be producing SRTRC squad posters with four SFL teams, all twelve SPL teams, and the Scotland men's and women's national squads.
Show Racism the Red Card have been working full time in Scotland for one year now and it is fitting that to mark this anniversary, and the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) action weeks, 14-28 October, every first-team SFL player will be showing their support for the campaign. We have had the full support of the SFL and all 30 clubs in organising this day of action, showing their commitment to the anti-racist message in the game, and in your club's local community.
Sadly, last season again saw incidents of racist abuse by a small minority at several SFL games. In the SFL racist abuse can be particularly destructive as players can clearly hear abuse directed at them, not what any right-thinking supporter wants for any player, whether in the SFL, SPL, amateur or schools football. You have to be thick skinned to play professional football - but is it of any relevance what colour that skin is? That's what today's action is about - players, clubs, the SFL and supporters sending out a clear message that racism is not welcome in Scottish football, and that we welcome difference in Scottish society. A strong SRTRC supporter, Rudi Vata of St. Johnstone was himself forced to claim asylum in France in 1991, fleeing the repressive Albanian regime in his homeland before coming to Scotland. This shows the type of positive contribution asylum-seekers make to Scottish society, seldom reported in the media.
There are also a number of other community events taking place Scotland-wide as part of the SRTRC/FARE Action Weeks ranging from a Fife anti-racist 5-a-side to a Wester Hailes ongoing anti-racist football project, anti-sectarian actions, and many other children's events and launches. We hope that more individual fans and supporters organisations will become actively involved in SRTRC and next year's FARE action weeks, and that this will become an annual feature of the Scottish football calendar.
Today gives you the chance to show your backing for the Show Racism the Red Card campaign. We hope you enjoy the game today and support Show Racism the Red Card's campaign to make football an enjoyable experience for everyone, whatever their colour, religion or country of origin.
Join us in the fight against racism - please show your appreciation for the players action.
For more information on the Show Racism the Red Card campaign see www.theredcard.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0141 3328566.
"Black or white - we all have football under our skin" - Eusebio.