By Laurie Fitzgerald
This week’s entertaining Carling Cup action was marred by controversy during Manchester United’s win over Leeds United at Elland Road.
Sections of the away support were heard through the course of the match to be making offensive chants about the two Leeds supporters stabbed to death before a UEFA Cup match in Turkey back in 2000.
There has also been criticism that some Leeds supporters made chants about the 1958 Munich air disaster that cost the lives of 23 people, including eight Manchester United players.
We can all agree that there is absolutely no place for this kind of abuse within the game; there’s no doubting that rivalries will have varying levels of animosity, and these two sets of fans have developed a strong rivalry over the years.
What was seen on Tuesday night though was the lowest of the low, and those that enter this type of chanting need to be held accountable.
Not only do they stain the good names of two of the biggest clubs in the country, but they also threaten to ruin the reputation of some of the most passionate supporters you are likely to find.
However, the question is how do we go about finding the right sort of punishment to fit the crime for these so-called football fans that stoop to such a level?
Both Leeds and Man Utd are set to investigate evidence of those involved and are sure to take further action against anyone found guilty.
But the most severe penalty that the clubs themselves can hand out are giving them lifetime bans from their own grounds, stopping them from supporting their team on a regular basis.
Despite this, it won’t stop those punished from going to support their teams at other stadiums and giving them the platform to launch similar levels of vitriol at other fans.
Therefore, with growing calls for more action to be taken, the Football Association needs to look further into seeing what they can do to aid the clubs dealing with the troublemakers.
It is unfair to punish clubs as a whole from racial or abusive chants, such as point deductions and playing behind closed doors as seen in other countries.
Why should everyone be put in the same bracket as those that take part in this unacceptable behaviour? Especially as clubs do all they can to single out those involved.
As the country’s football governing body, the FA can rid out the scum from ALL football arenas across the land and slowly drain out the kind of rivalry that crosses the line of decency.
That way, while there will always be the odd idiot or two that pop up, the majority will know that the consequences of their actions will hit them hard because the powers-that-be are making a real stand against it.
Some people may think that over-reacting to situations like this is unecessary as it is an idiotic minority of supporters.
But with more impressionable young children going to football matches, we need to be aware of the danger that they could grow up with the mentality that this sort of chanting is acceptable and nothing more than ’banter.’
The whole point of going to football games is to go there and enjoy supporting your team; not to be subjected to the mocking of unspeakable human tragedy linked to your club.
Now it’s up to the FA to make sure they do all they can to provide the kind of matchday atmosphere for future generations to grow up and enjoy – and leave the idiots as far away from football grounds as possible.
So what do you think? Should the FA do more to help football clubs in dealing with those involved in racial or abusive chanting? Or is everything possible being done to deal with this issue? Leave a comment and let us know your views.