SRtRC comment on recent sectarian behaviour by Scottish fans

A series of alleged sectarian events has resulted in campaigning charity Nil By Mouth call for strict liability

Anti-Sectarian campaigning charity Nil By Mouth has expressed concern for how Scottish Football deals with incidents of sectarian, racist and offensive behaviour at football matches.

To this end, Nil By Mouth has called for the Scottish Football Association as well as the Scottish Professional Football League to introduce a code known as strict liability that would result in an automatic sanction imposed on clubs should their fans misbehave.  

Within Scottish football at the moment, as long as clubs can prove that they have done everything possible to ensure fans do not conduct themselves in an inappropriate, offensive or dangerous manner, they can escape punishment.  

European football’s governing body UEFA operates under the umbrella of the strict liability, as does English Football.  

Within this framework, regardless of warning issued to club supporters by clubs, if fans misbehave at matches (ie. offensive chanting; the use of smoke bombs) then the club will automatically be sanctioned which will result in: fines; closure of sections of grounds; playing matches behind closed doors; and the docking of league points.  

The call for strict liability comes after high profile incidents at Scottish grounds over recent weeks. These alleged incidents included sectarian chants being sung during Rangers’ match against Hibernian at Ibrox. In addition to this, it is alleged that Celtic fans let off flares which is an extremely dangerous act,  and chanted sectarian songs when Celtic played Stranraer over the weekend.  

“The vast majority of fans who go to games in Scotland are decent people and are fed up to the back teeth with this behaviour and we want to find a way of ensuring that their voices are heard on this important issue,” Nil By Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said.  

“That is why we have written to the SFA and SPFL urging them to put ‘strict liability’ on the agenda for the AGM in June.”  

“By doing so publicly they give clubs several months to have meaningful dialogue with their fans about what course of action to take. By balloting season ticket holders clubs will be able to represent their fans and customers views directly.”  

“It would also give the silent majority of fans a voice in a debate too often dominated by offensive and provocative chanting of a baleful minority. This is too bug a decision to simply leave to officials and its vital that fans are fully engaged in the debate. It’s their game and this can be a chance to help clean it up.”  

Proposals to introduce the liability code to all Scottish games, was rejected by clubs in 2013, while in May last year Scottish Government recommended that the code be adopted.  

Overall Show Racism the Red Card is saddened to hear that a few bad apples are ruining the game for true fans on both sides of the ‘firm’ and it is with great hope that fans and clubs alike can stand together and show boht Bigotry and Racism the Red Card.

Read more here of the alleged incidents here: