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?
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 for full event details).
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 but try that at a football game and you'll get 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?
Have we reached a tipping point and what role can we all play in improving things for the better?
We really hope you can make it - the event takes place at Brick Lane's Vibe Bar (London) on Thursday March 4th 2010 (7pm kick-off). If you'd like to attend simply email your full name and any questions you might have to email@example.com.
For more information on panellists, which include The Times' Football Editor Tony Evans, see below.
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 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 newspapers excellent podcast The Game.
- 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!
- David Bohannan, Home Office.
- Tony Conniford is Assistant Director of the UK Football Policing Unit, a position he’s held since 2002, and prior to that spent 30 years working for Essex Police. He’s been involved in policing football since 1996, and has worked at the previous three World Cups, two European Championships, and five Champions League finals.
- Henry Porter is a civil liberties campaigner, novelist, and Observer columnist. He's so famous he's even got his own Wikipedia entry and if you followed the link you'll also know he's the British Editor of Vanity Fair and was on the Orwell Shortlist in 2009. Henry also backed our campaign around 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.
FREE BEER! Got your attention? Short of knocking on your front door we really couldn't have done much more could we?! Yes, that garish picture to the RIGHT does say free beer and it's all true. Everyone who registers for Sit Down, Shut Up: Are Football Supporters Discriminated Against? will receive one free drink token (beer, soft drink, wine or short) on the night itself and there'll be a finger-buffet for all (or bar snacks as we prefer to call it). Happy days!
Sit Down, Shut Up: Are Football Supporters Discriminated Against? is being held in Brick Lane's Vibe Bar on Thursday March 4th 2010. 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.
Registration is totally free, simply reply with your full name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Every person who registers in advance also gets a free drink (see below).
It's by no means compulsory to ask a question but if you do have something burning inside that you can't wait to get off your chest then we'd love to hear from you! Submit your questions in advance so our panellists have an idea of the issues that will arise although, in true Question Time-style, they won't be told the exact question (which will be selected randomly if we receive too many!).
Lastly, we'd like to make it totally clear that this invite is open to all, FSF member or not, so please feel free to send it on to anyone who might be interested.