Undercover: Hate on the Terraces by Adam Jessel ›› Undercover: Hate on the Terraces

a documentary by Adam Jessel.

2014 | 27 mins | UK.

Official Synopsis: "Filmed undercover at football clubs across the United Kingdom, reporter Morland Sanders' investigation exposes how some supporters take part in systematic homophobic chanting. It also raises serious concerns about the police's response to racism and homophobia. One incident, captured on camera in front of the police, shows how fans shouting deeply offensive racist abuse escape unpunished. The film also examines the commitment of the authorities to dealing with football-related discrimination online."

Dave says:-

This is not the first documentary detailing homophobia that I've reviewed; indeed it was just a few weeks ago that I penned words on the disturbing Hunted situation in Russia. Casting my mind back further, I recall the insightful BBC1 Inside Sport Special on The Last Taboo; an investigation that questioned why is it that in this day and age, seemingly every other sport can deal with openly gay players and yet football cannot? That however was almost four years ago and here you have to wonder what has changed for the better during the intervening years? Sadly, going by the evidence presented here, little, if anything, is the answer.

Reporter Morland Sanders goes undercover to reveal Hate on the Terraces.

Reporter Morland Sanders goes undercover to reveal Hate on the Terraces.

For equipped with hidden cameras and concealed microphones, the Channel 4 Dispatches team went undercover to some of the UK's biggest football clubs, to reveal that and despite headline grabbing proclamations, including the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, backed by the Football Association, 2013 promise to tackle "all forms of abuse in football, be it in the stands, or on our computer screens," racist and homophobic abuse is still rife among certain fans. And here, it didn't take long for reporter Morland Sanders to hear first-hand the extent of such bigotry. Leaving the terraces behind him in a state of shock, Sanders went onto interview professional footballer Jason Roberts, subject to repeated racism, gay and Jewish supporters, together with senior officials, including the FA's Director of Governance and Regulation, Darren Bailey. Yet what was truly alarming was that and in spite of the official line of showing prejudice the red card, when brought to the attention of the stewards and police patrolling the game, all turned a blind eye, if not a deaf ear to such vile behaviour. Nothing was done. Except when shown the footage thereafter, to offer words of defence against their inaction. Indeed, it would appear that police officers "may be" under-reporting homophobic and racist incidents at games, so as to "officially" pass without incident.

That the FA, the clubs and the police have improved the atmosphere in football grounds over the last decades, is not in doubt. As too, widespread use of CCTV, coupled with match day expulsions and / or the suspension of season tickets are key tools to root out such acts. Yet many would question what is the point in putting in place a series of anti-bigotry measures, if they are being and in the main, seldom acted upon? Indeed some would go further and question if the deterrent of an outright ban from all future matches for those who flagrantly shout words of racism and homophobia, is being sacrificed on the altar of ticket revenue? What is clear is that and given such a prejudiced environment, is it any wonder that gay footballers opt to stay firmly in the sporting closet. Players of ethnic background however have no option other than to face the bigoted chants from the terraces and going by this documentary, they, like their gay teammates, will have to continue to endure the unchecked abuse that makes the game, anything but beautiful.

a Channel 4 premiere

Monday, 3rd March, 2014 / 20:00 to 20:30.
Copyright 2014 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #2014014
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