Spanish tourists slammed over Greyfriars Kirkyard football

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IT’S enough to make some of the Capital’s most famous former residents turn in their graves.

A group of Spanish tourists posted a video online showing them playing football in Greyfriars Kirkyard – amid centuries of human remains.

The video shows the men playing football in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Picture: Facebook

The video shows the men playing football in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Picture: Facebook

The film, which was uploaded to Facebook, shows eight men kicking a ball around the category A-listed site, with their jumpers draped over the historic gravestones. The film has since been removed from Facebook.

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Shot on a mobile phone and set to cheery samba music, critics have slammed the film for showing a “total lack of respect” for the historic graveyard, where burials have been taking place since the late 16th century.

But others have insisted such reactions are “a lot of outrage over nothing” – and that the incident was simply a bit of harmless fun.

Marion Williams, director of conservation group the Cockburn Association, said: “Whilst I am a keen football fan I think it is really disappointing that they thought it was okay to kick a ball about in one of our Kirkyards – the site and its

monuments are A-listed. Not only that, they put the video out as well. I doubt it would go down well in Spain either.

“The Kirkyards are the responsibility of the city council and are fondly cared for by ‘friends’ groups. It is disrespectful.

“There are plenty of open spaces where you can quite happily kick a ball about – the Meadows just a few minutes away, for example.

“Perhaps more needs to be done to discourage antisocial and disrespectful behaviours in these special sites. There used to be watchmen back in the day.”

But Bill Cowan, chair of Old Town Community Council, said there were much bigger issues that people should concern themselves with.

He said: “Okay, they should not be playing football in a graveyard. But at the end of the day, in terms of seriousness, it does not even get in the agenda compared to the other issues facing the Old Town.”

On the Evening News Facebook page, opinion was mixed.

Anneke Dubash wrote: “It isn’t just disrespectful, had they damaged one of the stones, it would be a permanent loss to the graveyard.”

But Amber Carr insisted: “Oh, for goodness sake. I’m sure they did not go there planning to be deliberately disrespectful. They kicked a ball around on a patch of grass. Get real.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We ask that everyone who visits the city’s graveyards respect the fact that they are places of rest, and to consider the feelings of people who are paying their respects.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk