Vibe Bar, London, Thursday March 4th, 7pm.
Sit Down, Shut Up: Are Football Supporters Discriminated Against? is the FSF’s free Question Time-style debate and gives you, the match-going fan, your opportunity to tell it how you see it to our expert panel of football journalists, police, and solicitors (see below).
The event is free but registration is required, email your name to email@example.com along with any questions you’d like to ask. All registered fans receive a free drink on arrival and non-FSF members are welcome.
Every day the FSF hears from fans telling us that they’re sick of being treated like criminals by over-zealous police, tired of taking orders from doormen dressed up as ‘stewards’, and had enough with clubs forcing them to sit down when they’d rather stand. Is this now the typical matchday experience?
Why are football supporters treated differently from other groups in society? Go to Wembley for a pop concert and you can stand without fear of ejection. Head to a rugby league match and you can drink in your seat. Try either of those at a football game and you could end up with a criminal record.
Why does the Crown Prosecution Service push for the most severe punishment in most cases involving football fans? Would this not be illegal if they followed this procedure with any other group in society? Are we seeing the return of the dreaded section 27? Have we reached a tipping point and what role can we all play in improving things for the better?
As any manager will tell you a team is only as good as its individuals and likewise Sit Down, Shut Up: Are Football Supporters Discriminated Against? is only as good as its guests and we’ve got no worries on that score. Your hostess with the mostest for the evening will be Amanda Jacks, FSF policing and stewarding lead, introducing a cracking panel featuring:
- Tony Evans who will chair the event. As well as being a Liverpool fan Tony is also Football Editor at The Times and a regular guest on his newspaper’s excellent The Game podcast.
- Duleep Allirajah is Sports Columnist for spiked “an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms.” Amen to that!
- Roger Evans has 32 years police service and is currently a Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police. He was the Police Match Commander at Highbury and has worked across Europe with Arsenal and England including Germany 2006. Roger still works at the Emirates when required and performed police command functions at both the new and old Wembley stadium.
- Nick Hawkins is the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Hampshire and the CPS National Lead on football. A lifelong fan he has extensive experience of prosecuting offences of football violence and disorder at home and abroad, including the World Cup in Germany. Nick has also worked throughout Europe, Brazil, and South Africa.
- Henry Porter is a civil liberties campaigner, novelist, and Observer columnist. He’s so famous he’s even got his own Wikipedia entry and also backed our campaign against section 27.
- James Welch is a solicitor and has been the Legal Director of Liberty since February 2000. Liberty is a campaigning organisation which seeks to protect civil liberties and has worked extensively with the FSF in campaigning against the use of section 27.
The event will kick-off at 7pm and lasts for 90 minutes, with a 15 minute half-time break for refreshments. We’re sure you’re familiar with that format. If everything goes as well as we hope there might even be some Extra Time…
Located at the Old Truman Brewery, 91-95 Brick Lane, London, E1 6QL and established in 1995 the Vibe Bar is one of the East End’s longest running, and best loved drinking dens. The closest Underground stations are Liverpool Street and Aldgate East.
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