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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Tolerance call as World Cup looms
Tartan Army
Supporters say there is humour in Scotland's rivaly with England
The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in Scotland has warned that the impending World Cup must not become an excuse for anti-English sentiment.

During the 2002 World Cup, CRE Scotland saw a rise in the number of inquiries it received about anti-Englishness.

The CRE said it had already received concerns that anti-English comments had created tension and hostility.

A spokesman for Tartan Army clubs said the rivalry between Scotland and England was based only on football.

The CRE said that about 5% of its casework related to complaints from English people living in Scotland.

Assessments from the last census estimated that 10% of Scotland's population would be English by 2015.

There is a lot of humour in the rivalry
Hamish Husband
Tartan Army clubs spokesman

Ali Jarvis, the CRE's interim director, said: "We're not interested in being politically correct and we're not telling football fans that they shouldn't enjoy supporting a specific team in the World Cup.

"Any sport will generate healthy competition and people with an interest in that sport may share friendly jokes.

"But what could be seen by some as harmless banter between rival fans will impact on others as raw hostility directed against a whole nation."

Ms Jarvis said the Tartan Army prided itself on its relationships with fans from other nations.

"However, there's an all too common misperception that racism only occurs where people are visibly different," she added.

Hamish Husband, spokesman for the the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: "I see it as an anti-England football team thing rather than general anti-Englishness. There is a lot of humour in the rivalry as well.

"Most Scottish football fans would support English club teams in European competitions and there are a number of English people in the Tartan Army."

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