Football fans fed up with racism and fascism in their sport have set up a new group to fight the rise of the right wing. Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism (FLAF) was launched two weeks ago and already has over 7,000 fans from clubs across the UK. The transition of the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (FLA) into a right-wing Tommy Robinson supporting group spurred fans to form the FLAF.
The group’s mission statement reads: ‘It’s time now for those fans who oppose the rise of the right at football to stand up and be counted. ‘As well as mobilising against their marches, we need to counter them at our own clubs, by whatever means is necessary, from leaflet and sticker campaigns to gentle persuasion. ‘Our reason for launching this initiative is based on the alarming and rapid growth of the far-right and fascist groups, particularly among football firms and other supporters.’
The FLAF said it wants fans of each club to fight fascism and racism among their own supporters to curb far right chanting and violence at games. ‘We aim to stop them, but first we must build a base of support for an anti-fascist identity at every club,’ it said. ‘This is a struggle that needs all of us to work together towards a common goal – but what a goal it will be when we beat them.’
The group said it will not have any affiliation with a political party in the future. An FLAF member from Birmingham (???) – who asked not to be named – told Metro.co.uk: ‘For too long right wing fans have had their own way, what we need is firms who will turn up and fight them at marches, demonstrations and football matches. ‘The language they understand is violence and we have to fight fire with fire, just like the Anti-Fascist League did in the 1970s against the National Front.’
Plymouth Argyle fan Tim Saunders backed the FLAF, he said: ‘We can’t let “football lads” become a byword for racists and Tommy Robinson fans. That harms everyone. The “FLA” doesn’t represent us. I applaud this group for taking it back.’
Tens of thousands of FLAF designed club stickers have been produced and fans are already plaster them over rival FLA stickers. Fans from league and none-league clubs in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland have joined the FLAF. Aston Villa, Celtic, Arsenal, Barnsley, Bournemouth, Brentford, Chelsea, Fulham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Everton are all represented in the group. And fans from across the world have also backed the FLAF with supporters from Spanish, Australian, American and German clubs getting involved.
First Published by Metro: Monday 13 Aug 2018
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/13/anti-fascist-football-fans-want-to-fight-rise-of-far-right-in-uk-football-7833045/