World renowned photographer, Stuart Roy Clarke, famous for documenting football fans and life surrounding them, has been commissioned by Supporters Direct Scotland to produce a series of images for use in its ‘The Colours of our Scarves’ project.
Around 200 new images are being captured across every senior ground in Scotland and will be on show at a touring exhibition around the country throughout the next 18 months.
‘The Colours of our Scarves’ initiative will engage with football clubs, football supporters, schools, youth groups and residents of communities around football stadia to gain a unique perspective on the issue of sectarianism across the country. It will also explore and attempt to gain more knowledge and research on the differentiation and geographical anomalies of the prevalence of sectarianism that may currently exist in Scotland.
The first display of a selection of Stuart Roy Clarke’s new images will be on show at The Falkirk Stadium before the Falkirk v Morton match on the 1st of February, following a week of community events with schools, college and community groups in the area. Three further weeks of activity will happen around forthcoming games at Hamilton, Dundee and Edinburgh with dates soon to be confirmed.
Funded by the Scottish Government, ‘The Colours of our Scarves’ will collect much needed research through a nationwide programme of educational workshops and visual displays throughout the next year and a half.
Stuart Roy Clarke is considered by many as the best football photographer bar none. His expertise has been in distilling in glorious pictures what the game means to people en masse as well as intimately. Stuart’s work has been published and exhibited in many locations and praised by many including pop stars and Prime Ministers.
Over a period of 25 years, just about all the UK-related football bodies, municipal authorities and governmental bodies have embraced, supported, funded Clarke’s Homes of Football opus including The Football Association, The SFA, UEFA, FIFA and Supporters Direct.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs, said: “The key for the solution to ending the scourge of sectarianism lies in and with our communities. The projects we are supporting across the country, including ‘The Colours of our Scarves’, will tackle sectarianism at its roots helping to finally consign such outdated prejudices to history. By engaging with football communities across the country Supporters Direct Scotland will gain a new perspective on the issue of sectarianism.”
Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct in Scotland said: “The issue of sectarianism in Scotland is one that has been discussed and debated, with varying levels of success from governments, charitable organisations, football clubs and independent bodies. Sectarianism itself is a deep routed cultural issue that dates back generations and effects society as a whole. It has traditionally been perceived to manifest itself through football supporters at football matches and football related events through language, song and actions which in some cases lead to violence and tragically even murder.
“We hope that our ‘The Colour of our Scarves’ programme, with the assistance of one of the greatest documentary photographers, Stuart Roy Clarke, we will help to highlight that the only real difference between football fans is the colours worn round our necks.”
In 2012-13 there in Scotland there were 268 charges of offensive behaviour at regulated football matches reported to the crown office and procurator fiscal service. 99% of those charges were against males with 73% of the figure being under the age of 30. Furthermore 39% of those charges made specific reference to religious and racial hatred as defined in the ‘Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act (2012).
Supporters Direct represents over 180 supporters’ trusts and similar organisations across Europe, with over 400,000 members.
Supporters Direct Scotland have developed the ‘scottishfans.org’ entity to enable the organisation to work with fans, directly with clubs and governing bodies in Scotland to assist, guide and facilitate better communications and relations between supporters and their clubs.