Anti-IRA chant leaves future of England fans' band in doubt
FA 'humiliated' by accompaniment to offensive chant and orders band to stop
England did what was expected of them on the field against Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday night, but there was a whiff of controversy in the stands after the official England supporters band was heard playing along to chants of 'F*** the IRA' from many of the travelling fans.
FA officials reportedly "made contact" with the band at half time to ask them to stop the offensive chant, "which had been repeatedly sung accompanied by a booming bass drum during the first half", reports The Times.
They took note of the request but the incident has "humiliated" the English FA says the paper, which notes that the organisation has provided the musicians with "considerable assistance over the years, particularly in facilitating their entry to stadiums away from home, and that relationship is now in jeopardy".
But the band may not be entirely to blame. "As the band played Follow England Away – a song it regularly performs – some of the 5,000 away fans began the anti-IRA chant," says the BBC, while The Guardian notes: "The band usually attempt to drown out offensive chants with their performance, though the numbers joining in this particular chant had clearly made that impossible."
England manager Roy Hodgson said he was not aware of any offensive chants but said he was aware that the England fans had been "tremendously supportive" during the match. "If anyone was offended, I'm sure the FA would apologise to them," he said. "All we can do is play our football and hope our fans behave themselves and enjoy our football.”
There had been fears of disorder ahead of the game but the match went off peacefully, with the band providing the only off note of the evening. "Police Scotland reported no football-related disorder in the immediate aftermath of the match and said they had not received any reports of offensive chants," says the BBC.