League brings in new rules on fan misconduct

Scottish league chiefs hope to crack down on supporter misconduct after issuing a revised rule book.

Crowd trouble marred the aftermath of last year's William Hill Scottish Cup final between Rangers and Hibernian. Picture: Robert Perry

The Scottish Professional Football League now expect all 42 of its member clubs to take strict disciplinary measures against fans who step out of line during matches.

The updated guidance, which comes into force immediately, sets out that home clubs are responsible for ensuring “good order and security” during league or Betfred Cup matches being staged at their stadium.

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Hampden bosses will also now require clubs - both home and away - to step up efforts to identify culprits.

The update comes after a number of worrying cases involving disruption on the terraces in recent months.

This season’s opening Celtic v Rangers match was also marred when two effigies were hung from a section of the home support, while the Rangers fans were responsible for a trashed toilet.

Last term’s William Hill Scottish Cup final - organised by the Scottish FA - ended amid shameful scenes when Hibernian and Rangers supporters clashed on the Hampden pitch. That led to a warning from Justice Secretary Michael Matheson that the government was prepared to introduce strict liability measures if clubs did not take action to curb trouble themselves.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The SPFL and its member Clubs are committed to preventing and to addressing unacceptable conduct where it arises, to ensure our stadiums are friendly, welcoming and safe environments where all supporters can enjoy Scottish football.

“This ongoing work includes this updated guidance for clubs which sets out the reasonably practicable measures that member clubs can take to address this issue and to identify and sanction those who engage in unacceptable conduct.

“It has been fully consulted on with all 42 clubs, the Scottish FA and the Scottish Government and, indeed, dialogue continues with the Government on a number of further measures which will be discussed early this year.”