New bill proposed to tackle sectarianism in Scottish football
The Scottish government has published a bill to tackle sectarianism in football.
The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Bill, which could be passed by 30 June and in place for the start of the Scottish football season in July, aims to tackle disorder around football matches and clamp down on internet hate postings.
The bill aims to stamp out abusive behaviour from football fans whether they are watching matches in a stadium, in the pub or commenting online. The maximum jail term will be raised from six months to five years for such offences.
The new legislation comes in the wake of several high-profile football-related incidents, including the recent appearance of two men in court, after suspected bombs were sent to Celtic manager Neil Lennon and two other high-profile supporters of the club, in March.
The draft legislation includes new offences, relating to stirring up religious hatred at or around football matches in a way likely to cause public disorder, the use of new technology to air old prejudices, disorder around football matches, and serious threats – including murder – made on the internet.
Scotland’s community safety minister, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “We felt as a government that we had to move fast while we dealt with the broader problem right throughout society. Of course, there is a great deal more work that needs to be done right across society in order for us to tackle the bigger problem which is endemic across Scotland.”
Rangers and Celtic football clubs welcomed the bill.
From BBC News