What team do you support?

by scotslawstudent

I don’t really follow football – I’ll happily watch it for an afternoon as long as I’ve got a good view and it isn’t too cold but I’ve never found the interest needed to really follow a particular team. It doesn’t help that one of my friends has a remarkable, encyclopaedic, knowledge of Scottish football and you can just ask him.

However, I do follow media regulation so make of that what you will. I was initially amused that someone has complained to the BBC Trust about the “constant denigration” of Rangers Football Club on the BBC’s Off The Ball because, you know, complaining about people slagging off football teams seems a bit spurious. At the end of the day it’s a successful football team and as long as it keeps making money and winning games the suspiciously tanned people on the TV can say what they like. Rangers is a company and companies should not get protection of their reputations from mean people on sports programs.

But, however much Rangers is a company it is not just a company – it was not too long ago that the only safe answer to a stranger asking you “what team do you support?” was “Partick Thistle” followed by running away. There is a rich seam of sectarian violence in Glasgow’s history and the two major football teams have a substantial part in that. It is a hot button that TV presenters should be careful about pushing.

Primarily it’s just hugely unprofessional for TV presenters to make comments about the evolutionary pedigree of a team’s supporters. You’re on TV, don’t do it.

The Trust have decided that it does not amount to code breaching bias but they have identified “problems” and will change them for the future. That came as a bit of a surprise for me I didn’t even realise Off the Ball was still on; I thought they’d cancelled it ages ago.