Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

MSP claims controversial Football Act was ‘railroaded’ through by government

Labour MSP James Kelly
Labour MSP James Kelly

Labour have fired the starting gun on a bid to shoot down controversial laws designed to stop sectarianism in football.

James Kelly, the Labour MSP, has opened talks with parliamentary officials to bring forward a private member’s bill to repeal the Offensive Behaviour and Threatening Communications at Football Act.

It was passed by a majority SNP government in 2012 despite strong opposition from the rest of Holyrood’s parties. The Nationalists, who no longer command an overall majority, are outnumbered in Holyrood, leaving them vulnerable to defeat on any future vote.

Mr Kelly said: “The wheels are now in motion to scrap the hated SNP Football Act. I will publish draft proposals and a consultation before Parliament rises before summer recess.

“The Football Act was railroaded through by an arrogant SNP majority Government which refused to listen to the concerns of opposition parties, football fans, anti-sectarian charities and legal experts.

“Now there is a majority in Parliament to abolish the Football Act and Labour will work with other parties to deliver that.

18/09/11 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUE RANGERS v CELTIC (4-2) IBROX - GLASGOW Celtic and Rangers supporters.
Supporters groups have criticised the controversial laws.

“The Act has seen a breakdown in trust between football fans and police. The next generation can be the one that ends sectarianism for good. We can start working towards that by abolishing the Football Act.”

Parties oppose the parts of the act which they say singles out law-abiding football fans, adding much of the legislation is both unworkable and unnecessary.

Previously unreleased photo dated 18/09/11 of police wearing Anti-Sectarian Initiative jackets at the Old Firm match between Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic at Ibrox, Glagow.
The low conviction rate since the legislation was introduced has also come in for criticism.

Campaigners also point to a low conviction rate and that the activity legislated for is already illegal.

The Scottish Government has referred to research that has found evidence of offensive behaviour at football matches has gone down since the legislation was introduced. It also says the act has attracted support from police and prosecutors, as well as the wider public.

A spokeswoman said: “Since its introduction, religious crimes, race crimes and crimes in relation to individuals’ sexuality are down, and we’ve seen a decrease in crimes of offensive behaviour at or in relation to regulated football matches in Scotland.

“Statistics show a steady decline in offences at stadiums and a YouGov poll shows 80% of Scots support the act.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier