Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

COP26 football match: Proof charity games can be anything but ‘friendly’

Politicians and football writers before infamous 2008 clash.

The Scottish Conservative and Labour leaders will join a string of former international footballers in a one-off match during COP26.

Anas Sarwar and Douglas Ross are poised to do their dribbling on the pitch, accompanied by the likes of John Hartson, Derek Ferguson, Ian Durrant and Frank McAvennie as part of the Soccer Six Game of History.

The game will be held at Hamilton Academical’s Fountain of Youth stadium this Sunday, November 7.

The event, organised in the midst of the global gathering in Scotland, has been designed to raise awareness around eco-anxiety experienced by many young people, and will raise funds for the children’s organisation Blameless.

But while it’s all in a good cause, these so-called friendly fixtures can occasionally develop into the opposite of the beautiful game.

Let’s hope that Ross, Sarwar and their colleagues manage to avoid the sort of stramashes which have happened in previous meetings where the score seemed to matter less than the chance to settle old scores.

The referee does a lot of kids’ games and said that the under-10s behave better.”

The most notorious case of a so-called “friendly” match between MSPs and football writers turning into Apocalypse Now happened in October 2008 when a brawl erupted and the contest had to be abandoned.

The then-Labour MSP John Park was sent off for a scything tackle on BBC pundit Chick Young, who complained: “He had a go at breaking my leg.”

Sports minister Frank McAveety, centre, with some out-of-work footballers at the launch of the the Learning in Football project.

There was bad blood and red mist in the air from the outset and Scotland’s former sports minister, Frank McAveety, was accused of swearing at the referee and “making threatening remarks”.

And a Glasgow councillor, George Redmond, ran the length of the pitch to shove an opponent, sparking clashes involving at least half-a-dozen players.

Politicians to blame?

A pushing match broke out and the beleaguered referee eventually decided enough was enough.

A member of the politicians’ team subsequently told the press: “The referee does a lot of kids’ games and said that the under-10s behave better.

“It was cringeworthy. It was embarrassing.”

Yet, by all accounts, it was his team which were the main culprits.

Lesser Hampden was the scene of the pitched battle.

The combatants kicked off on a Sunday morning at Lesser Hampden, just yards from the national stadium.

But, as one incident followed another and the atmosphere grew increasingly nasty, the game was abandoned after 55 minutes with the politicians 6-2 up.

One of their players, who perhaps sensibly chose not to reveal his identity, said there was “bad blood from the off”, but insisted the sports journalists were whingeing from start to finish, possibly because they didn’t relish being treated like human punchbags.

Park’s apology wasn’t accepted

One of the reports detailed: “Ten minutes before half-time, Chick was clattered by John Park. He was writhing in agony and got carried off.

“The ref sent John off, although he let us bring on a substitute because it was a friendly.

“But three or four of the sports guys took exception to what had happened and there was a bit of handbags at 20 paces.

“John went to apologise after the match but Chick told him to f*** off.”

Young, gifted and black and blue

The veteran BBC broadcaster, who was once famously monstered by Walter Smith and Archie Knox in a flurry of expletives at Ibrox, said at the time: “John Park did me.

“I’ve got six stud marks down my leg. I’m still limping.

“Their behaviour was appalling. They were thugs.

“They had one guy at the back who was a nutcase of the first order and Frank McAveety’s language to the ref was absolutely scandalous.”

It wasn’t anybody’s finest hour. Yet it wasn’t the only occasion that the word “friendly” was ignored by the participants once the action had started.

The name’s Balls. Ed Balls.

In 2014 the former Shadow Chancellor and future Strictly star Ed Balls was involved in some aggressive, ahem, campaigning that injured two of his rivals during a ‘friendly’ match between MPs and Lobby journalists.

Midfield maestro Mr Balls left Northern Echo reporter Rob Merrick bloodied and bandaged and he had to be helped from the field after a stray forearm from Balls caught him in the side of the head.

He was treated by medical staff with blood dripping from his face and was later taken to hospital in Manchester to have stitches inserted.

Ed Balls.

Balls later said: “I think I was about to score a brilliant goal into the top right-hand corner. But, as I steadied myself to shoot, Rob came piling in from behind, flew into me and it looks like he came off worse.

“And I didn’t score my goal, so there we are. It was almost a brilliant tackle from him, but it didn’t quite work. I hope that he’ll be better soon.”

Later in the contest, which the lobby journalists won 3-1, Balls – one half of Labour’s forceful strike partnership with (the elected Mayor of Manchester) Andy Burnham – made another crunching challenge on the Western Morning News journalist Graeme Demianyk.

The Etihad Stadium will have seen better matches than the politicians versus journalists game.

The latter limped from the field – at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium – and was forced to watch the rest of the match from the sidelines.

Demianyk said: “I looked up and just saw him steaming towards me. The next thing I knew I was on the floor.

“He is definitely what you would call an uncompromising opponent.

“When he is running towards you at full pace, it feels a bit like you’re in the path of that out-of-control boulder in the Indiana Jones movie.”

Copping the flak, big style

One normally expects police officers to uphold the law where football is concerned but that wasn’t the case when a fracas broke out in 2009.

The social fixture between a brace of police teams had to be abandoned after a series of fights broke out on the pitch, close to Ibrox in Glasgow.

“It’s the last thing you would expect from cops. So I’m sure there will be a few red faces.”

The referee had to call a halt in the first half as colleagues battled on the park.

It was officers who worked in Paisley and others from a Glasgow division who were involved in the embarrassing spectacle on an astroturf pitch.

A source told the Evening Times: “It’s the last thing you would expect from cops. So I’m sure there will be a few red faces.

“One guy in particular was charging round the field and battering into shocking challenges. It was crazy and things started to get out of control.”

The game was eventually abandoned after 40 minutes.

Pity the poor refs in these cases

The source added: “The referee probably thought that he would be in for an easy day’s work with coppers on the pitch, but it didn’t work out that way.

“It says it all that he didn’t even get through to half-time.”

Let’s just hope that Douglas Ross, Anas Sarwar and the rest of the COP26 crew remember this weekend they are promoting a charity called Blameless!