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Tottenham Use Texting Service To Eliminate Discrimination


Sunday’s big game in the Premier League will be an intriguing affair featuring Tottenham Hotspur against Portsmouth at 11am ET/4pm GMT. Intriguing because it sees Spurs manager Harry Redknapp and striker Jermain Defoe up against their former club. Only three points separate both teams, and based on current form both clubs could be in for a relegation dogfight between now and the end of the season.

The other intriguing subplot is that this will be the first match between both clubs since the time Sol Campbell was the recipient of homophobic abuse from Tottenham fans. Following an investigation into the September 28th incident, eleven football fans were charged.

It’s not surprising then that officials from both clubs are concerned about misbehavior from both sets of fans this Sunday.

What I find interesting about the whole situation is that during the past two seasons Tottenham Hotspur have offered home and away supporters the ability to text or e-mail safety concerns to the club, so they can immediately investigate the situation.

Here’s how it works:

If a football fan witnesses anyone at White Hart Lane using foul, abusive or racist language, they can text 07766 553 225 or email the club at The messages go directly to the control room at White Hart Lane. The club then can communicate with the fan to find out which area of the ground the incident is happening in, and the control room can view the area of concern on CCTV and deal with the matter.

Tottenham Hotspur should be applauded for using the latest in technology to help eradicate the problem of discrimination. Without being able to use mobile phones, football supporters would have to contact a steward to report the problem, but then that risks them being seen and being the subject of abuse or being physically threatened.

Let’s hope Sunday’s match happens without any incidents off the pitch spoiling the game.

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  1. Jason

    January 15, 2009 at 8:47 am

    The Cincinnati Bengals have something similar (they called it the “Jerk Hotline”), but when their season started going south several fans took advantage of this and starting calling the hotline and asking for Mike Brown (their GM) to be removed from the stadium for being a jerk.

    Generally speaking, though, this is a pretty good idea; the ability to text makes it discreet, and having CCTV there to verify that there's legitimately a problem is helpful as well. As far as ratting out fellow supporters, I agree with Phil; if supporters don't want this in the game, then supporters need to police themselves.

  2. al

    January 15, 2009 at 8:17 am

    Some of the fans were chanting genuinely homophobic things at Campbell, but the police have claimed the following is homophobic as well:

    “You can stick your Sol Campbell up your @r5e,
    We've got Ledley,
    We've got Ledley,
    We've got Ledley at the back.”

    Some of the eleven are being charged for singing the above. Anything that contains, “up your @r5e,” is now homophobic?

  3. Phil McThomas

    January 15, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Patrick, I hear comments via the Boro board I frequent of people “ratting” on fellow supporters with some regularity. Imagine what it would be like to be sat there with your kids, and the bloke/lady behind you is screaming racial abuse the whole game.

    You have no option to relocate. So do you just take it?

    You have to get out of your seat, find a steward, and point the person out. They'll likely get a warning so you'll set there with an uneasy feeling for the rest of the game.

    People are constantly texting during the game so to text a seat number to the control room is a good idea. Much more anonymous that the current options.

  4. patrick

    January 15, 2009 at 7:19 am

    yeah, snitching on your fellow support is the answer. I applaud the idea, but I hate to think what will happen you that season ticket holder once word gets out that it was he who gave up one of his own.

    it is tribal business after all.

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