Labour MSP launches bid to scrap SNP football legislation’

A Labour MSP is to launch a fresh bid to scrap the controversial laws aimed at sectarianism in football amid claims that it has eroded trust between fans and the police.

A Labour MSP is to launch a fresh bid to scrap the controversial laws aimed at sectarianism in football amid claims that it has eroded trust between fans and the police.

Labour’s James Kelly said he would bring forward a member’s bill to overturn the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act, which was introduced by the SNP government.

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The law gives police and prosecutors powers to tackle the singing of sectarian songs and other abuse at and around football matches, as well as threats posted on the internet or through the mail.

It created two distinct offences, with punishments ranging up to a maximum of five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

However, Mr Kelly said the law has damaged trust between football fans and the police, as well as setting Scotland back in the fight against sectarianism.

Mr Kelly said he would introduce the proposed legislation, which would focus on promoting an anti-sectarian message in classrooms and community groups, if he is returned as an MSP for Glasgow in May’s election.

He said “In May, I will bring forward a Member’s Bill to repeal the Football Act. The place to tackle intolerance is in our classrooms and community groups and this Football Act is a barrier to that.

“The SNP Government in Edinburgh don’t understand that the problem of sectarianism in Scotland goes far beyond 90 minutes on a Saturday. The Football Act shows a government more interested in public relations than the public interest. “The Football Act is eroding trust between football fans and the police and that is solely because of the SNP.

“No other party in Parliament supported it, and Scottish civic society, football fans, academics and lawyers all opposed it at the time it was bulldozed through by an SNP majority that simply wouldn’t listen.”

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