Why strict liability won't work in Scottish football - Neil Doncaster responds after Rangers incidents

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster has explained why strict liability won’t work within Scottish football.

It follows incidents during the Old Firm match on Sunday when bottles were chucked onto the Ibrox pitch and at Celtic players and staff.

The second-half of Celtic’s 2-1 win was delayed as a broken bottle had to be cleared from Joe Hart's box, while a member of Ange Postecoglou's backroom staff required stitches after being hit by a missile.

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However, Doncaster, speaking to The Times, ruled out strict liability for clubs, outlining concerns regarding how away fans could act and how it could impact visiting allocations. Instead, he has called for more severe punishments to individuals

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

“Strict liability simply does not work, as the repeated fines for specific clubs in Uefa competitions season after season demonstrate very clearly,” he said

“The answer must be far harsher and targeted punishments for the individuals who perpetrate the crime, including a more regular use of football banning orders and, where necessary, custodial sentences.

“There are two main forms of strict liability which have been proposed and neither of them will work.

"The first is to punish the home club for any transgressions in their ground, whether it’s by the away fans or home fans. Unfortunately, this will act as an incentive for some away fans to misbehave, knowing the home clubs will suffer the punishment for their actions. It will inevitably result in clubs refusing to sell tickets to away fans, with the obvious detrimental impact on our game.

“The second is to make clubs strictly liable for the behaviour of their fans at away matches and this will simply lead to clubs refusing to sell their fans tickets for other grounds, for fear of being punished if they misbehave.

“The significant investment by clubs in CCTV technology means it’s far easier to spot and act on incidents caused by the tiny minority of fans who misbehave. Clubs, footballing authorities and the overwhelming majority of decent fans abhor the actions of those who engage in criminal acts at games.

"It’s only by targeting these individuals directly and punishing them to the full extent of the law that we will provide a meaningful and effective deterrent.”

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