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Club 1872 Statement on Scottish media treatment of Alfredo Morelos

Club 1872 notes the criminal charges filed in relation to the racist abuse of Alfredo Morelos by Celtic supporters at the recent Old Firm Game at Celtic Park and we hope the police are able to identify and charge the other perpetrators. We also commend Rangers on their statement yesterday which highlighted the disgraceful coverage which this incident has received in the Scottish press and by BBC Scotland.

Having been in constant contact with the club on this matter over the past week, we were aware that it was likely that criminal charges would be forthcoming and that robust comment from the club would follow. On all matters of interest to the support we make strong and frequent representations to the club. Those discussions will not always be made public but they always take place and it is Club 1872’s priority to effect real and meaningful change on behalf of supporters through our influence as major shareholders.

We fully understand the frustration of supporters who were waiting to hear from Rangers or Club 1872 but who, in the meantime, had to put up with Scottish media commentators and columnists who were more interested in conspiracy theories than calling out racism.

Let us be clear here. Every single journalist or commentator who played down this racist incident or tried to cast doubt on it even happening, was well aware that Rangers had reported it to the police, that the police were investigating and that it was referenced in the match delegate’s report. They are also aware that these are not the first charges to be filed in the past year in relation to racist abuse of Rangers players. For Tom English, Michael Stewart, Bill Leckie, Roger Hannah, Davie Provan and Gordon Waddell, to name but a few, to demand more proof than that before accepting that this incident took place was shameful. For several of them to use it as their latest excuse to attack the club or the player himself was even worse. Their comments mirrored and then legitimised the bile which emanated from the worst corners of social media towards Rangers, Alfredo Morelos and his family. In any similar situation, with any other player and any other club, they would be pariahs.

With that in mind we met with Rangers this morning to discuss how this incident should signal a fresh approach to the relationship between the club and the media in Scotland. The access granted to these media outlets is a valuable commodity and as such it should be justifiable from both a commercial and reputational point of view. With huge, ongoing changes to the way information is consumed it is not clear what benefit the club derives on either of these fronts from the traditional Scottish media. On that basis we have made representations to the club about providing the same access for supporter led, new media and that proposal has been well received.

It is our firm belief that Rangers should no longer provide valuable content to traditional outlets without there being measures in place to deal with those who publish the sort of bile we have seen in recent weeks. Having reached the stage where some pundits and journalists feel it is acceptable to publicly deny, downplay or make excuses for the racism suffered by a Rangers player, it is clear that the relationship with those journalists and their employers needs to be carefully and continuously re-examined.

We fully understand that it is not desirable to completely ban media outlets from Ibrox but it is also not acceptable for media outlets to target our club, fans and players and still expect to be granted unfettered access to the content generated by the club. We will continue our dialogue with both the club and those media outlets over the coming weeks and months with the aim of ensuring that the situation significantly improves.

Issued by Supporters Voice Limited, a Club 1872 company

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