LABOUR’S candidate for the east end of Glasgow has called for a law which criminalised sectarian chanting to be repealed.
Margaret Curran, whose constituency includes Celtic Park, said the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act has done nothing to reduce intolerance and bigotry.
“It has been over three years since the Football Act was passed and... there has been no evidence that it has made any positive effect on reducing intolerance and bigotry in Scotland”Margaret Curran
It was the first Bill to be passed without cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and attracted criticism from the Fans Against Criminalisation group which is linked to Celtic supporters.
In a letter to voters, Ms Curran said: “It has been over three years since the Football Act was passed and in those years there has been no evidence that it has made any positive effect on reducing intolerance and bigotry in Scotland.
“Instead, we have had football fans wearing pro-Palestine t-shirts subjected to questioning from police and suggestions that people wearing Yes badges could be liable for prosecution.
“It’s no surprise that a senior Sheriff called the law ‘mince’.”
She added: “I’ve represented the east end of Glasgow in the Scottish and UK parliaments since 1999.
“Celtic Park is a part of the constituency I represented until the election was called a few weeks ago. I know the great benefits - and the risks - that football brings to communities.
“When I was communities minister in the Scottish Government almost a decade ago, we made some real strides in combating sectarianism through education.
“It was always done with a cross-party approach and with the support of clubs, fans and civil society groups.
“The Act broke that consensus. Instead of allowing us to make progress, it has put ordinary football fans in the frame and only increased the tension between fans and the police.
“The Act has set Scotland back and it has set back the fight against sectarianism. It’s time to repeal the act.”