Advisory Group on Sectarianism Final Report

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29th May 2015photo

Nil by Mouth have today welcomed the publication of the Scottish Government’s Advisory Group’s Final Report into sectarianism in Scotland.

The report is available to view at: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2015/05/4296

The report contained recommendations on a range of areas Nil by Mouth have long been campaigning on including:

  • strict liability at football matches,
  • additional research into the extent of sectarianism online;
  • greater community consultation over marches and parades;
  • more work on ‘white collar’ bigotry and;
  • a more robust definition of terms in which sectarianism is defined.

We strongly welcome the report’s recommendations that Scottish Football adopts UEFA’s ‘strict liability’ principles for dealing with offensive behaviour at matches. Strict liability involves a series a financial and sporting sanctions ranging from fines to, in extreme cases, closing sections of grounds due to fan misbehaviour and has been used at games right across Europe.

In February 2015 we renewed its call for the model to be introduced after a series of high profile instances of sectarianism at Scottish matches. Despite the promise of action from clubs in the aftermath and calls for action from supporters groups no plan or series of proposals to combat the problem has since emerged.

Nil by Mouth Campaign Director Dave Scott said:

‘This report is the most significant piece of research ever compiled on this complex problem and it poses as many questions as it provides answers. Football in particular has to face up to the realty of its responsibilities. We are pleased that the advisory group have recognised the importance of ‘strict liability’ being introduced into the Scottish game. This is the UEFA standard and it has been used effectively against Scottish teams when they’ve played in European competitions and elements of their fanbase have indulged in sectarian behaviour.

Scottish football benefits from millions of pounds of taxpayers money every year and the game can no longer be allowed to take the cash and run on an issue which it has a considerable problem with. The SFA AGM is to be held next month and we still have time to introduce strict liability for next season if the clubs have the will and courage to act. The choice for the game is simple: remain part of the problem or be part of the solution.’