Campaigners Nil by Mouth today launched a ten-date tour that will see the charity visit clubs and supporters groups to help highlight the positive impact football has on communities across the country. The campaign, which has already seen hundreds of fans post pictures online using #KissBigotryGoodbye, will feature football quizzes, readings from acclaimed author Scottish Daniel Gray and ‘selfie-stalls’ encouraging fans to post images of what make them love the game.
Support from the Scottish Government has ensured these events will be free of charge and the organisation hopes the tour will provide fans the chance to learn more about work being done to tackle bigotry on and off the terraces. It will be launched tonight in Leith and will also include events in Glasgow, Dumfries, Selkirk, Coatbridge, Paisley, Cowdenbeath, Bathgate, Dundee, Kilmarnock and Ayr.
Nil by Mouth was set up by teenager Cara Henderson after the brutal sectarian murder of her school friend Mark Scott as he made his way home from a football match in 1995. Since then the Nil by Mouth has campaigned against sectarianism including recently seeking to give fans a vote on the introduction of ‘Strict Liability’ at SPFL football matches in an effort to tackle sectarian abuse in the stands.
The word sectarianism is very often used in Scotland in association with divisions within a religion, particularly in reference to Christianity and the division which can exist between Catholic and Protestant people. Sectarianism can also be found within other religions and often involves forms of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred between those two groups with in the religion.
Kiss Bigotry Goodbye
Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said: “Some of the most iconic figures in football history hail from Scotland and the game is a hugely significant part of our culture. The behaviour of football fans can often attract negative headlines but we know that the vast majority of fans simply want to support their team and enjoy the beautiful game.
“There are many brilliant people involved in the game who run supporters buses, wash kits, drive kids to matches, coach teams free of charge and work behind the scenes at our clubs. This tour is a celebration of them and a chance for us all to focus on how the game brings people together each week.
“We all have our different teams and differing opinions, but we’re all united by this love of the game, and its eccentricities. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the joy, and forget that football isn’t always the problem – it can be part of the solution. We hope as many fans as possible come along and join us in Kissing Bigotry Goodbye.”
Minister for Community Safety, Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “The Scottish Government recognise that the majority of football fans are well-behaved and simply wish to support their team. Nil by Mouth have been working across many of Scotland’s communities and through their Kiss Bigotry Goodbye campaign have witnessed the passion and commitment of fans to support their teams. I recently visited Selkirk High School to see Nil by Mouth work with pupils and teachers to highlight the dangers of social media posting and I am delighted to support the Kiss Bigotry Goodbye campaign as it goes on tour around some of Scotland’s football communities.”