No room for abuse at our sports events

Opinion – by Mark Entwistle

We have become accustomed to seeing television and newspaper images of drunken youths disgracing themselves by their conduct at top-flight professional football matches.

But we have always smugly consoled ourselves with the refrain “you’d never get that at the rugby”.

Well, that all changed on Saturday at the Jed Thistle Sevens at Riverside Park. This week we report on how the tournament was sullied with arrests for fighting, under-age drinking and personal abuse being chanted by a section of the crowd at the young Melrose players contesting the final.

Melrose RFC president John Reed has rightly condemned the behaviour, but it needs the parents of those involved and club officials to crack down and get the message firmly across that there is no place for it in rugby or any other sport, and will not be tolerated.

If that takes banning orders from rugby grounds being slapped on certain people in the same way similar behaviour at football matches is dealt with, then so be it.

And all credit to the young Melrose Wasps players, all 18 or under, who gave the best riposte possible to the ignorant morons shouting abuse by lifting the trophy.

If those responsible thought by chanting such foul-mouthed barbs would prevent the Melrose side from knocking out the host club in the final of its own tournament, they were much mistaken.

All they achieved was to bring disgrace and shame on themselves and, sadly, upon this normally very enjoyable and well-run sevens tournament.