Scottish football bosses say 'common sense prevails' as supporters' bus plans scrapped

A consultation into proposed changes to how sports fans can use private hire buses has been scrapped after an outcry from fans, football authorities and politicians.

The proposals from the Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain were met with cross-party opposition north of the border, with First Minister Humza Yousaf saying they were “ludicrous and “unworkable” and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross branding them “insulting”.

The consultation on changes to voluntary guidance proposed that fans travelling on buses to games would not be allowed to stop at pubs unless a “substantial meal” was served.

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The proposals, which the commissioner had said were being made on the grounds of “safety”, would have also required fans to arrive at a match between one and two hours before kick-off and leave within 30 minutes of the end.

Plans to introduce strict regulations over the movement of supporters buses in Scotland have been scrapped by the UK Government.Plans to introduce strict regulations over the movement of supporters buses in Scotland have been scrapped by the UK Government.
Plans to introduce strict regulations over the movement of supporters buses in Scotland have been scrapped by the UK Government.

But a statement from the commissioner on Friday said: “I have listened to the strength of feeling expressed and it is clear to me that there is further work required to understand the full impact of the introduction of any proposed guidance in Scotland. As a result, I have asked my officials to cease this consultation exercise.”

Football clubs and bodies such as the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) and the Scottish Women’s Premier League (SWPL), spoke out against the proposals.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “I welcome this sensible decision from the Transport Commissioner. I’m very glad that the legitimate concerns of fans have been listened to.”

A joint statement issued on behalf of the SFA, SPFL and SWPL said: “We are pleased that the Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain has withdrawn the proposed consultation and that common sense has prevailed.

“We are also grateful to clubs, fans and politicians across the country for their unanimous support in opposing and ultimately preventing these unreasonable and unworkable guidelines from being implemented.”

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said: “This is a victory for every Scottish football fan who stood up and made their voice heard loud and clear. The whole episode reeked of complete snobbery and the very fact that the Tories tried to do this speaks volumes of the contempt in which they hold our national game.

“Scottish football is something to be celebrated, our fans should be heralded, and perhaps it is time for consideration about how football fans are treated more broadly – we can’t even watch our international games for free while English and Welsh fans can.

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“Millions of Scots attend games every year and pour money into the economy while doing it. Let’s ensure this type of attack on our national game never happens again and let’s treat supporters like we do everyone else – fairly.”

Mr Ross said: “This is the right outcome and a victory for football fans across Scotland who had united against these ludicrous proposals. It is only right that the Traffic Commissioner has seen sense and withdrawn the consultation.

“The fact that it has now been withdrawn only serves to highlight the hugely important role football plays in communities in Scotland and how it brings people together from all backgrounds. The proposals were insulting and completely disproportionate and have ended up on the scrapheap where they belong.”



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