Moves agreed to crack down on sale of sectarian football goods
THE first move towards cracking down on street vendors selling sectarian goods outside football club grounds was made yesterday.
Proposals to get tough on selling licences have been endorsed by Glasgow City Council’s licensing committee, who will now consult traders.
The planned measures would mainly affect sellers outside the stadiums of Celtic and Rangers football clubs.
Currently, items such as paramilitary paraphernalia or flags are regularly on display during match days at stalls run by some vendors outside Parkhead and Ibrox.
However, other grounds in the city will also be affected by the proposals, council officials said.
Under the planned rules, to be looked at by a working group, vendors will only be allowed to sell genuine football memorabilia, in designated zones.
This will be on the condition that the items do not contain political, racial, religious or sectarian content.
Angus Livingstone, the head of licensing in Glasgow, said: "The focus of concern was perceived breaches of copyright and a suggestion that there was sectarian material being sold.
"We have emphasised that the sales should be restricted to football memorabilia only."
A council spokeswoman added: "The idea is to not name specific items which will be banned such as flags, but to prevent anything with sectarian overtones being sold outside football matches.
"The football clubs are in agreement with the aim of this and, indeed, were the first to propose such ideas."
The measures are part of a drive across Scotland to stamp out sectarianism, being taking up by politicians, police and the football clubs.
In recent months, scarves, T-shirts and even baby bibs with slogans referring to the Irish troubles and glorifying sectarian violence have been seen for sale.
The proposed revised licensing terms, which council officials expect to be in place by spring, will also crack down on vendors trading in counterfeit football goods, and other items which breach copyright.
Baillie Christine Devine, the council’s licensing committee convener, said: "This is part of efforts to rid the city of the blight of sectarianism.
"We would hope that when it goes to consultation, the traders will support it."
Alistair Watson, who represents Cardonald on the city’s south side, added: "A cottage industry has grown up around the religious intolerance that exists in this city.
"Much of the material is offensive and we need to stamp it out."
The proposals to revise the street traders licences have followed months of monitoring and talks between licensing officials police, trading standards and Celtic and Ranger football clubs."
Traders will be consulted on the revised conditions before the new licences are brought in.
Sectarianism is such an issue in the west of Scotland that two years ago the Sense Over Sectarianism (SOS) campaign - a partnership between Rangers and Celtic, the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church, Nil by Mouth and Glasgow City Council - was set up.
The group offers funding to anti-sectarian projects in Glasgow and was awarded 400,000 from the Millennium Commission in December 2000.
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