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5:52:45 PM
Murray apologises to Dundee clubs

Sir David Murray
Quotes attributed to Sir David Murray angered the Dundee clubs

Dundee United say they have accepted a personal apology from Sir David Murray after the Rangers chairman was quoted criticising the city's football fans.

Murray said in the Sunday Times that abuse between some United and Dundee fans on certain websites was "just as bad" as between Celtic and Rangers.

United now say Murray has apologised for any distress caused.

But they point out that Murray says he had never inferred that there were sectarian issues in Dundee.

United director Derek Robertson said: "David Murray telephoned me this morning to offer his personal apology for any distress caused as a consequence of the article.

"Mr Murray went on to explain that his comments were taken out of context by the paper concerned and that at no time did he mean to infer that there were any sectarian issues between the two Dundee clubs and their respective supporters.

"This apology and explanation has been accepted and we now consider this matter to be at an end."

For the avoidance of doubt, I have been consistent in my condemnation of unofficial websites for the bile and anti-social comment that are now becoming endemic within football in general
Rangers chairman Sir David Murray

The original remarks had led to a joint statement from the Dundee clubs saying they were "appalled" and asserting that sectarianism was not an issue in the city.

Murray later told BBC Scotland: "For the avoidance of doubt, I have been consistent in my condemnation of unofficial websites for the bile and anti-social comment that are now becoming endemic within football in general.

"My quotes do not make specific reference to sectarianism in relation to the clubs in Dundee."

Celtic and Rangers have long since recognised there were sectarian elements within their support and have attempted to tackle the problem.

But, on Monday, Murray penned an article on his club's website criticising an "endless obsession" with sectarianism and racism.

"We were delighted to support on Saturday the launch of the annual Show Racism the Red Card initiative, which keeps up the good work that has been done in Scotland over many year and has helped make Scotland a place where racism is nowhere near as prevalent an issue as it is elsewhere," he said.

"However, you would not think that Scotland has even emerged from the dark ages in terms of racism and sectarianism when you see the endless obsession there is with these issues that now involves clubs, supporters, the media and politicians.

"The reality is that sectarianism and racism are not the problems they once were in this country.

"It would be absurd to suggest these problems do not exist, but we need to put them in perspective."

Sections of the Rangers support have recently been criticised for singing the 'Famine song' - which refers to events that killed an estimated one million people in the 1840s and led to a mass migration from Ireland.

"Both Rangers and Celtic have been written to recently by the football authorities about chanting at football grounds," said Murray.

"As clubs, we will have to deal with these inquiries, but we share our fans' frustration that all too often the focus is placed too heavily on Rangers supporters.

"We are left wondering what impact this continual fixation will have on the reputation of Scottish football and can only conclude that it will be negative and damaging."

United face Rangers at Ibrox on Tuesday in their re-arranged Scottish Premier League encounter, which was postponed as a mark of respect for the United chairman Eddie Thompson, who died last month.
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