RED CARD CAMPAIGN: Footballer twins’ shock over racism in junior league

Chris Jackson (left) and Shane Jackson (right) play for Irvine Victoria junior football club
Chris Jackson (pictured left with his children) and Shane Jackson (right) play for Irvine Victoria junior football club

Footballer twin brothers, who live in Dumbarton and Glasgow, have described “shocking” incidents of racism at recent junior league matches.

Chris and Shane Jackson, of Irvine Victoria FC, said both fans and players have made racist remarks – and rival clubs have been inconsistent in dealing with incidents.

The 34-year-olds believe more needs to be done to crack down on bigotry at their level of the game.

The SFA said it has opened an investigation into the allegations.

A spokesman for the West of Scotland Football League said it was investigating both alleged incidents involving spectators.

He added: “The West of Scotland Football League has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination both on and off the pitch.

“Such behaviour has no place in football or in society in general.”

Now living in Glasgow and Dumbarton, the men grew up in Bolton with their English father and their mother who was from the Philippines.

One of the incidents is said to have occurred during a clash with Port Glasgow on 5 November.

The brothers claim that racist language was heard from fans and players of the home side, but no action was taken. The club denies the claim,

Shane, who plays as a forward, said he urged the referee to listen out for further abuse – but said no incidents were recorded in the referee’s report.

Chris called the incident “shocking and embarrassing” and told the BBC: “It’s not even young boys doing it, it’s grown men.”

It came after another incident during a match on 29 October, when the brothers said a racist remark from a Lanark United fan near the home dugout resulted in a mass brawl.

However, they said the referee ensured individuals were removed from the match before beginning the second half.

“It’s the worst I’ve had it in junior football,” said defender Chris. “I think now is the time to start stamping down on it. You need to make an example.

“It doesn’t matter who does it or what club it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a top club or a small club – it needs to be stamped out and it needs to be done properly.”

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Shane added: “It’s not been that bad for god knows how long because we actually know a lot of football players that we’ve played against for so long now.

“It’s quite disappointing what’s happened in the last few weeks.”

Chris said Bolton where he grew up was a community with a large number of Asian families but he remembers experiencing racist abuse from the age of five.

“I’ve been called all sorts,” he said. “I’ve had it all my days although this is the first in a long time.

“Me and my brother are quite tough and we’ve got each other’s backs – it’s always good to be a twin. But we don’t need that in our lives.”

‘My mum was heartbroken’

Both brothers have young families and previously would enjoy bringing loved ones to matches for support.

Now they are reluctant to let their children join the crowd for fear of future incidents.

Speaking about the 5 November game, Chris said: “I couldn’t leave the house that weekend.

“My mum got wind of it and she was absolutely heartbroken. My dad has just had a heart attack and we’re trying to get him out to watch games – but I don’t want him to get involved sticking up for me.

“And my kids love watching their daddy play football – but it could mean they end up not coming.”

Chris Jackson and family
Chris fears he may not be able to bring his children to games

Irvine Victoria said it strongly condemned recent incidents and allegations of racism against the players.

In a statement posted on social media, it added “racism and any form of discrimination has no place in football or any sport” – and thanked Lanark United for their “swift action” in October.

Port Glasgow juniors said they took allegations of racism “extremely seriously”, but dismissed the claims made.

Their statement read: “Port Glasgow Junior Football Club are aware of the allegations made against the club of alleged racist incidents taking place in our match at home to Irvine Victoria.

“The club welcomes and will fully support any investigation into these alleged incidents, however, we will robustly defend our player and fans as we believe these allegations to be false and without foundation.

“The club will make no further comment on this until these allegations have been investigated fully.”

Top picture: Lords Speaker Lord McFall, right, with Show Racism the Red Card campaigners at a local football ground.

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