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.

Football Act repeal will not stop free speech attack on fans, says Dundee lecturer

Dr Stuart Waiton
Dr Stuart Waiton

Dumping the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act will not save fans from the culture sweeping Holyrood of criminalising “incorrect words”, says a Dundee lecturer.

Dr Stuart Waiton, a sociologist, warns the clamp-down on free speech for football supporters will become “more authoritarian”, even if the legislation is repealed.

The Abertay lecturer said despite most MSPs backing the demise of the 2012 Act, the political climate was “more, rather than less, accepting of the idea that incorrect words and songs should be made criminal”.

“There remains an accepted belief that singing songs can and indeed should lead to your arrest, if these songs do not fit with the ‘correct’ outlook in the Scottish Parliament,” he said.

“As a number of politicians have pointed out (while opposing the OBFA), there are myriad laws that already exist that can be used to arrest people for what are essentially speech crimes.”

Holyrood voted in favour of repealing the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act as Labour MSP James Kelly’s bill passed its first hurdle last week.

The 2012 Act criminalises offensive and threatening behaviour, including inciting religious hatred, at or in connection with football matches.

The legislation has been criticised for singling out football fans and campaigners say laws already exist to tackle the criminality it seeks to punish.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier