Learn English | A new lesson every week
Book your course now

Advanced Level Reading: Police fears over "racist" T-shirt

Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

Here's a recent and strange news story that explains a little about British culture. As you may know, Great Britain is made up of three countries: England, Scotland and Wales. Although they share the same language and, for the most part, the same government, they have their own identities, culture and national pride. The three countries work well together forming Great Britain; however, things are very different when it comes to sport. England, Scotland and Wales have their own national football teams and there has always been a rivalry between them.

In a new twist in this rivalry comes from a story that just came out of the Scottish city of Aberdeen. A stunned shop worker told how he was warned by police for selling "Anyone but England" T-shirts. Police said that the shop's window display featuring the shirt could cause offence and a stated that the T-shirts were racist. "Anyone but England", what does it mean? Well, phrase means you support any team but England at this year's World Cup. In other words, "Who do you want to to win the World Cup?"
"I don't care who wins as long as it isn't England!"

Ross Lyle, from the T-Shirt company, said: "To be honest we're absolutely flabbergasted. We have been selling this T-shirt for the past three months and we've had a great response. Even the English people who come into the store think it's a laugh and just a bit of tongue-in-cheek football banter. We're certainly not being racist. We are the same race as the English. It's just daft to say it's offensive. They’ve got nothing to do with hating the English, it is just about winding them up – and it seems to be working".

In response the police added "The primary role of any police force is to preserve the peace and we would be failing in our duty if we did not make people aware of the potential for disturbance such a window display could cause."

Use the numbers to match each words to their definitions. Careful, 4,5, and 7 may appear to have similar meanings!

  1. twist
  2. racist
  3. flabbergasted
  4. tongue-in-cheek
  5. banter
  6. daft
  7. wind up

What are your opinions on the story. Do you think the T-shirts are racist? How would you feel if it was your country mentioned on the T-shirt? Do you think that sporting rivalry between nations can be dangerous?

 Link: Advanced: reading exercise

  • A - Silly or stupid:
  • B - A change in the way in which something happens:
  • C - To be shocked by surprising news:
  • D - To annoy or upset someone for fun:
  • E - Believing that other races are not as good as your own and therefore treating them unfairly:
  • F - Something that is meant to be understood as a joke, although it might appear to be serious:
  • G - An exchange of light, playful, teasing remarks; good-natured: