SPORT and politics should never mix, of course, but ever since apartheid in South Africa was challenged by people around the sentient world who made rugby and cricket a stick with which to beat the white supremacists, I have been very well aware that sporting activity can exist in a political vacuum.

Politics infests the vast majority of the varied sectors of society, and sport is no different from any other area of life – football and politics must at least co-exist and despite the lofty ambitions of football administrators, sport is not above the law, as Jean-Marc Bosman would testify.

When sport and politics do mix, there’s usually only one winner, and put it this way, it ain’t the fitba. We are currently living through a nightmare for sport caused by politics, specifically Brexit, and the latest manifestation of difficulties caused to sport by politics is one that no Scottish sports fan should ignore. Writing on these pages and elsewhere earlier this week, my old fellow toiler in the sports den Ewing Grahame expertly laid out a comprehensive problem which Brexit has brought to football.

He revealed how the Home Office is trying to get rid of responsibility for football-related visa problems after Brexit and pass it on to the Football Association – that’s the FA of England, and not the Scottish, Welsh or Northern Ireland associations who are mightily ticked off by this “England is Britain” approach.

Ewing summed it up thus: “Scottish clubs – and others throughout Britain – are guaranteed a work permit for any player from a country in the top 70 of the FIFA rankings as long as he has played in 75% of their national team’s games in the previous two years.

“However, Scotland also has an appeals process that allows clubs to present a case for individuals who don’t meet that criteria.

“In the system currently in place, clubs are given the opportunity to argue the player they want to sign has the ability to improve the standard of the domestic game or, as with Ryotaro Meshino, the 21-year-old Japanese midfielder Hearts have taken on loan from Manchester City, that there may also be a financial dividend for Scottish football due to the interest from his homeland.”

Succinctly put, and here’s the rub: as I have been writing since 2016, football, rugby, golf and many other sports are going to suffer because of Brexit and the restrictions it will place on freedom of movement. Scottish sport will not be able to import EU citizens at will, and this nasty xenophobic Tory government, should it be re-elected on December 12, is only going to make it more difficult for anyone from Europe and elsewhere to come into this country. To learn that the Home Office, the creators of the “hostile environment”, are going to follow English rules on who can and cannot come into this country and earn a living by playing for a football team here – the same approach will surely soon apply to rugby and other sports – is something that truly appals me and many other people who can see the damage this will inflict on Scottish sport.

You don’t have to be a rabid nationalist to see that if England’s rules take precedence then that will be used to serve English interests first and foremost, and if the English FA gets to dictate the way forward after Brexit, how soon will it be before the Rugby Football Union and other English governing bodies tell their Scottish equivalents how things are going to be? England’s football rules, for instance, place a very high bar on who can come into English football. As Ewing implied, if you haven’t played in 75% of your eligible national team fixtures, it will be very tough for you to enter English football. Not so with Scotland, where we have a more humane and realistic approach.

Fair enough, the FA wants to give more English youngsters a chance to play in first XIs and make their way into the national team, but several English senior clubs view this approach as a “restraint of trade”. The Scottish football authorities cannot afford to restrict immigration into our game, not least because the likes of Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard and Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos would not have qualified under English FA rules. So why vote for Boris Johnson? Especially since a special deal for football on freedom of movement is something he cannot do in political terms – if football gets it, everyone will demand it. Mentioning sport and politics, when it comes to Celtic’s Green Brigade I often think they seem to have a somewhat warped view of political reality. But it was the Green Brigade of all supporters’ groups which turned out at the weekend and raised £18,000 and van loads of food for disadvantaged people. Yes, a lot of fans across the country do charity fundraising, but you have to say the Green Brigade have done supremely well.

Where I part company with them is their idiocy in even contemplating the continuation of the flares and fireworks that their members let off. Please be warned by someone in the know – the politicians are on your case and that of all football firework users. And this time I am on the side of the pols.