MSC Letter to Sky Broadcasting & OfCom
13th February 2013
This letter has been written by the Millwall Supporters Club in response to a Sky Special Report into racism in football which was first broadcast on Monday 11 February.
The show was advertised as an in depth report going into the heart of football to reveal the extent of racism inside the game.
Unfortunately, the journey to the heart of football was not as extensive as it should have been as it completely centred on Bermondsey featuring almost entirely footage from one medium sized Championship football club.
It seems that your journalists take the usual narrow minded approach of laying all football’s problems at the door of Millwall, which in reality is a club watched regularly by relatively small crowds of around ten thousand.
For a programme concerning such a serious problem, it is a shame that you were not able to bring yourselves to investigate recently reported serious incidents of racial abuse in the Premier League at grounds such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham; clubs that have a high profile in English and world football, where incidents of racial abuse will be witnessed by a much greater number of spectators.
The programme seemed to have little balance, with the main aim of vilifying Millwall and its supporters. There was no acknowledgement that the five perpetrators of abuse were a tiny fraction of those attending the games where undercover filming was carried out, thereby leaving a slur on the thousands of decent law abiding fans the club attracts.
There was no recognition that the club is at the forefront of the ‘Kick It Out’ Campaign or of its work in the community in a deprived inner city mixed race area. At one point it was claimed the club’s captain Danny Shittu was racially abused but you provided no evidence of such abuse leaving it as another slur for the club to deal with. We wonder that you did not attempt to speak to our current team captain, our current player of the year or last season’s player of the year, all of whom are black, for their views.
You showed incidents of bottle throwing by Millwall fans but of course you could not bring yourselves to report the vile chanting of Leeds fans, or Charlton fans throwing seats and lighting flares from the away end at the games you filmed.
In reality, your in depth report was a limited piece of work as it really did not disturb or uncover any racial problems that undoubtedly exist at our top clubs and between top players. It is a shame you did not have the courage to complete concealed filming at Premier League games and you probably will not have the courage to revisit Millwall to highlight the positive work the club does for its community and race relations.
Finally, we wonder at the timing of this transmission. The principal incidents took place last year, plenty of time for you to produce a topical report, but the transmission was five days before the club’s high profile FA Cup tie. ... Further, if Sky’s interest was to help the fight against racism, you would surely not have concealed your evidence for nearly three months before reporting the crime that was witnessed. Our club works tirelessly to address this issue, to be part of the solution, not the problem. Clearly this is not your agenda.
Racism is a serious problem and it is very frustrating for the thousands of decent Millwall fans that our club along with virtually every other League team has its small minority of racists. However your tactics of merely kicking and tarnishing the image of this small Championship club that is battling to root out offenders, does little to help or solve the much wider problem in the game.
We are all football fans keen to deal with this issue and eradicate racists. Indeed, some responsible for writing this letter are also Sky subscribers so your thoughts on the points made will be appreciated.
Chairman – Millwall Supporters Club
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