What is it acceptable for fans to chant at football matches? I (hope!) we can all agree there are clearly some things that should always be out of bounds anywhere in the world, such as racist chanting/abuse, and some countries (hello, Italy and Spain) have more work to do than others. But what about what might be considered simply abusive or offensive chanting and behaviour? Where should the line be drawn? This year, it seems we’ve seen more instances than ever of players in direct confrontation with fans, from David Beckham in LA to Craig Bellamy and Emmanuel Adebayor in Manchester.
The Football Association announced today its own plans to tackle “hostile and abusive” chanting. Beyond technically illegal chanting, FA chief executive Ian Watmore wants to eradicate “what I think of as vile chanting. We in football should think about ways in which we can exorcise that from the game — but without glorifying it — because it puts the average person off.”
A similar situation was also brought up yesterday in MLS: the Columbus Crew’s President & General Manager Mark McCullers wrote an open letter to Crew fans in the Nordecke section of the stadium, asking them to desist from chanting that he said “compromises our repuation and cannot be tolerated.” McCullers said Crew fans were damaging relations with sponsors and putting off other fans, a similar tack taken by Watmore.
Neither executive offered any serious idea of (a) how we go about defining what needs to be eradicated; and (b) how to actually do this. What do you think? Is the situation worse than ever? (cue a discussion about the moral decline of Western Civilisation. . .)
- Speaking of Columbus, The Olympian looks at ten years of MLS’ first soccer-specific-stadium: Crew Stadium, built by Lamar Hunt to help keep the Crew in Columbus. The cheap tin-can design is hardly the Home Depot Center, but its significance in even having been built remains.
- The latest addition to the U.S.’s World Cup Bid Committee isn’t a famous name, but he is a heavyweight whose global clout cannot be underestimated: Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company. Disney, of course, own ABC and ESPN, and this probably is the most powerful media executive in the sports world.
- The mess at Portsmouth goes on. New owner Sulaiman Al Fahim (admitted to hospital yesterday for kidney stones) is getting all the bad press, with chief executive Peter Storrie attempting to portray himself as a white knight — which, as we discussed in the comments here yesterday, is hard to stomach given Storrie has presided over the mess at Portsmouth for quite a while now.
- When Phil Scolari ended up managing at shady Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan last year, the press had plenty of positive buzz about it. Twelve months later, Big Phil is facing the sack again: but he’ll hardly be crying, as the highest paid manager in the world, he will have to make-do with a £12m pay-off. Just don’t think about where that money came from, Phil (there may be a few blood stains).
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.