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Football: No SFA ban on tributes as Jambo boo boys are slated.

Byline: By Neil Cameron

THE SFA last night insisted they would not scrap minute silences after a weekend of embarrassment at the National Stadium.

Both Scottish Cup semi-finals were marred by jeering during the mark of respect for Pope John Paul II.

And the behaviour of Hearts supporters in particular on Sunday provoked worldwide condemnation.

Newspapers across the globe slammed the large section of Tynecastle fans who booed and caused referee Stuart Dougal to cut short the minute by over 30 seconds.It is not the first time morons have wrecked a silent tribute to the dead but SFA spokesman Andy Mitchell is adamant Hampden bosses can't be held responsible for the actions of some fans.

He said: 'As was said last week, you can't make a categorical decision on these things. You make a valued judgment each time and sometimes you say yes, others you say no.

'They are very emotive and sometimes tragic circumstances. You have to take each one on its merit.

'At the end of the day when a famous footballers dies would you have a minute's silence? Some you do, some you don't. You have to take a valued judgment.

Policy

'That has always been the policy and will continue to be so.

'We are aware of the problems. That is why this minute's silence was discussed at board level.

'But you cannot prescribe how you will react to certain circumstances.'

Mitchell revealed the SFA were inundated with calls both for and against paying tribute to the Pope.

Scotland's football governing body agree to most requests but have turned down some - such as the Soham murders and the execution of Ken Bigley.

A minute's silence was observed at two SPL fixtures at the weekend - the games at Pittodrie and Dens Park. No club has requested a similar tribute for this week's matches.

Newspapers throughout the world highlighted the Hampden incident.

The New York Post's headline was 'Soccer Fans Boo Pontiff', while USA Today stated: 'Scottish Soccer Fans Jeer During Tribute to Pope.'

Italy's Tuttosport reported: 'Booing from Hearts fans for Pope', while the China Daily paper carried a story saying 'Scottish Fans Jeer Pope'. There was similar coverage in Canadian, Australian and South African papers.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 12, 2005
Words:370
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