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Football clubs ‘should be punished for sectarian behavior of fans’

Date: 29th May 2015

Celtic v Rangers

A Scottish Government paper looking into tackling sectarianism has advised that football clubs should be punished for the sectarian behaviour of their fans.  The Government commissioned an advisory group to look into tackling sectarianism in Scotland. They published their final report on Friday, laying out a number of recommendations for churches, football clubs, media and government bodies.

The researchers met with football authorities and clubs, including Celtic and Rangers, all of who said ‘strict liability’ would not work. Clubs argued ‘strict liability’ – giving clubs sanctions such as deducting points or closing stadiums to fans – would be financially crippling.

The report said: “We were told that one reason that strict liability was unworkable in Scotland was because certain stadia would be closed for months leading to severe financial hardship for particular clubs.

“However, that claim also makes the case for action. If elements within Scottish football make it so toxic that it cannot survive the introduction of strict liability, then we need to find ways to address these elements and create an environment which allowed it to survive and thrive.

“No serious and long term attempt to address and tackle sectarianism in Scotland will succeed without the sustained co-operation and engagement of the football authorities, the clubs and football supporters.

“Given the strong influence that football exerts on the lives of those who participate in it, the importance of this point cannot be overestimated.”

You can read the full report here 

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