CELTIC’S ‘Fans Against Criminalisation’ (FAC) have scored a big success by hitting Number 24 in Britain’s Official Top 40 Singles Chart with the release of The Irish Brigade’s H-Block song Roll of Honour as a protest against Scotland’s suppression of republican songs sung at soccer matches.
FAC asked fans to get Roll of Honour into the Top 40 by downloading it from iTunes all this week and by Saturday to highlight what they argue is the “absurdity” of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) Act.
The legislation is supposed to be aimed at tackling sectarianism on the terraces but Celtic fans say the Act has “criminalised” Celtic supporters by police action against the songs they sing, including Roll of Honour,
One fan has already been found guilty of contravening the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communication (Scotland) Act for singing Roll of Honour. Another fan is being held on remand accused of the same offence. There is a backlog of Celtic fans awaiting trial for the same reason and proceeds from the single will aid the legal defence fund for fans.
Fans say this particular song is a ballad about civil resistance and a struggle for basic human rights that has been a favourite of the Celtic support for over a decade.
In a statement on the Celtic Trust website, the fans say:
“FAC contend that it is a damning indictment of the Scottish political and judicial system that legitimate expression of political opinion and cultural heritage within the context of a football match is now enough to result in a criminal conviction.
“We urge the Celtic support to download this song to embarrass those who seek to criminalise us to demonstrate that we stand by those who are being arrested at their homes and dragged through the courts and that we will not tolerate the continual harassment of our fellow fans at the hands of Police Scotland.”
“For those based elsewhere,” they said, “FAC still urges people to aid this campaign by downloading this single which will help create a greater awareness of this issue whilst contributing to the FAC Legal Defence Fund.
“We all have a part to play.”
Download Roll of Honour here.