Old Firm unlikely to face SPFL sanction

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THE Scottish Professional Football League is unlikely to take any disciplinary action against Celtic or Rangers in relation to the conduct of supporters at the League Cup semi-final earlier this month.

The first Old Firm fixture for almost three years saw 12 spectators arrested for alleged sectarian offences at Hampden as Celtic defeated Rangers 2-0 on 1 February.

Picture: TSPL

Picture: TSPL

Songs which fall foul of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act were sung at the match, most notably ‘The Famine Song’ and ‘Billy Boys’ from Rangers supporters which have landed the Ibrox club in trouble previously. A banner unveiled by Celtic supporters at the match referred to Rangers as ‘huns’, while flares were also let off.

But although the SPFL board is yet to complete its post-match assessment of the semi-final, they are satisfied that both clubs took all reasonable and practical steps to try and ensure acceptable conduct from their respective supports.

A spokesman for the SPFL said: “Official reports from the match are still awaited. However, it is clear from information already received that all parties prepared properly and thoroughly for the match and, to date, we have not seen any evidence of any breach of SPFL rules by either club.”

Scottish football clubs have rejected efforts by the SFA to introduce new ‘strict liability’ levels of regulation, in line with those used by world and European governing bodies Fifa and Uefa, to deal with cases involving racism or sectarianism.

The existing SPFL rules spare clubs from any sanctions so long as they are found to have made all possible pre-match efforts to prevent unacceptable behaviour.

Rangers and Celtic have both been punished in the past under Uefa’s tougher disciplinary procedures which holds clubs wholly accountable for the actions of their supporters.

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