Club clear and unequivocal: Treat women with respect at Celtic Park

Published on 9 August 2013

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The dust has settled since Celtic’s two-leg tie against Elfsborg and the club is gearing up for a trip to Kazakhstan, but there are still plenty of comedians around on Twitter with some new-found jokes ready and waiting for anyone who wants to discuss how female officials are treated at Celtic Park. Hilarious fun.

Some Celtic supporters, sadly, seemed to be living their lives in a Carry On film from the 1970s. They certainly seemed to think it part of the match day entertainment to subject two women at their place of work to sexist abuse.

Thankfully, Celtic take the issue a little more seriously. After the incredible number of tweets I received in response to my raising the issue of how two female Elfsborg physios were treated at Celtic Park during the Elfsborg match, I contacted Celtic to find out the club’s stance on the issue.

“We’re absolutely against any form of discrimination,” a club official told me. “Recently at the match against Elfsborg there were examples of sexual discrimination towards the [Elfsborg] club’s physio and doctor and we would ask that supporters become more aware of the fact that it is a form of discrimination.

“The behaviour we saw from a small number of fans – predominantly from the chants and comments that were made – is certainly not welcome and we would ask them to refrain from using that kind of behaviour and those types of comments when they see any female officials at Celtic Park.”

The official I spoke to agreed that the chants and comments were clearly audible within the stadium and stressed it was a matter Celtic take seriously and may need to further address.

In response to those who are worried about their party being spoiled and insist what happened was no more than a few wolf whistles, this Paradise Report recording on Hail Hail Media, at around 18:40 minutes, captured a snapshot of the singing within one section of supporters.

In the coming years football fans can expect to see more female officials in the game. How will they be treated at Celtic Park?

In early 2011, assistant referee Sian Massey found herself the subject of a sexist rant from football pundits Richard Keys and Andy Gray after she correctly flagged a Liverpool goal offside. The pair suggested Massey didn’t understand the offside rule and that the game had “gone mad”. The incident sparked a serious debate about sexism in the game and fans of a club as progressive and opposed to discrimination as Celtic should have a serious think about what side of that debate they want to be on.

Those who fail to see an issue with their own brand of fun at football should consider how they’d feel if their mother, sister, wife or daughter was spoken to like an inanimate object. The idea that anyone would suggest in the course of a normal working day that a woman in the workplace should “get her tits out” is preposterous. Football is no different. Discrimination is just as serious when it concerns gender as when it concerns race or religion.

Celtic Park is a more family friendly place than ever before, and indeed has just opened a dedicated family stand. Supporters should consider that their example teaches young bhoys how to behave and young ghirls how they should expect to be treated.

The club is clear on its position. Treat women with respect at Celtic Park.

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5 thoughts on “Club clear and unequivocal: Treat women with respect at Celtic Park

  1. johnnymanc August 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm Reply

    Well said Angela,
    Maybe this will help…..’fans’ who discriminate on grounds of gender, race or religion do not belong at Celtic Park…I know where you should go to watch your football and it’s not north of the river clyde

  2. Eamonn Coyle August 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm Reply

    Excellent article Angela. The audio clip you posted a link to is embarrassing. For all the great work that has been done to challenge racism, sexism, like homophobia, is still a serious issue in football and we have some way to go to eradicate it.

    Do you know were there any fans, particularly male fans, who challenged that behaviour?

  3. rodfather67 August 10, 2013 at 10:14 am Reply

    Looking forward to the Club closing the entire stadium to properly enforce the rules with relocations to the car park. Assuming that open discrimination and abuse of visiting team officials is slightly more important an issue than moving sideways whilst standing. CFC PLC – never short of hypocrisy or indeed irony. Did they issue a final warning?

  4. Chris August 10, 2013 at 10:43 am Reply

    The club should look inside first to the comments made by the commentators at halftime on Celtic tv

  5. John peebles August 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm Reply

    Of course you and Celtic are right,but do feel that the decent support by far the majority take a bashing each time something is levelled at them,after all we’ve had all sorts of insults accusations throw at us over the years,and not just from out “own”people.

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