Football Lads Alliance (FLA) supporters offer sympathy to Finsbury Park attacker

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE USE – Stand Up To Racism on Football Lads Alliance

Supporters of the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) have exhibited the worst kind of racism and disrespect for the family of murdered Makram Ali,following the verdict on Finsbury Park attacker Darren Osborne.

FLA members described Osborne as a “scapegoat” and referred to judge Cheema-Grub as “left wing muslim sympathising” on their secret Facebook wall. One FLA member calls Osborne his “hero”. Another post stated that the terror attack was “hardly murder”.

Shockingly there are also posts that say Osborne was right to try to target Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Comments include “Corbyn is enemy of the UK” and that trying to attack Corbyn was “not a bad thing”.

The FLA, despite describing themselves as an anti-extremist group and anti-racist group are fast becoming a magnet for the far right and Islamophobes.

There has been no attempt by the page’s FLA administrators to stop these incendiary posts, to which the obvious question, is why not? This post alone, is appalling.

Weyman Bennett – co Convenor of Stand up to Racism said,
“For the FLA to do nothing about posts supporting a terror attack is scandalous. Any organisation claiming to oppose extremism would surely remove these posts immediately. The FLA is giving a platform to extremists who are offering support to people promoting racism and violence”.

Sexism of FLA member, below.

Justice Cheema-Grubb said Osborne had intended to cause terror and criticised far right figures such as the ex EDL leader Tommy Robinson for their malign influence on Osborne via social media.

Sadly, BBC Newsnight allowed Robinson to express his Islamophobic ideas on air along with his claim to be just an ordinary “media commentator”. Unsurprisingly, several far right extremists offered their backing for Robinson.

Such posts are reminiscent of the English Defence League or the BNP. That they are increasingly commonplace on the FLA site, speaks volumes.

The FLA now plans to march in Birmingham on 24 March. This follows their demonstration in central London last June.
They have said they want to “shut the city down”. The FLA claims they are ordinary football supporters campaigning against terrorism.

The reality is that FLA leaders have frequently expressed “respect” for Tommy Robinson and have often given a platform to the far right.
Birmingham Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) has issued a well-supported statement opposing the FLA’s march.

Trade union General Secretaries Len McCluskey, Mark Serwotka, Kevin Courtney and Dave Ward have already signed the statement. It has also been backed by the anti-racist charity Show Racism The Red Card.

Stand Up to Racism has raised concerns previously about the FLA and its links to racist and far right figures. Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott has added her voice to these concerns.

Many football fans are opposed to any attempt to make racism acceptable on the terraces. In East London the Mayors of Newham and Tower Hamlets have written to West Ham United expressing their fears of attempts by the FLA to find a hearing.

Coming in the wake of another far right supporter, Ethan Stables conviction for aiming to attack an LGBT event in Cumbria, the kind of postings on the FLA page are completely unacceptable.

Stand Up To Racism has called a broad based positive, anti-racist event, in Birmingham to coincide with the FLA march on 24 March.