Thursday, January 18th 2018

Repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act gets new backing

The repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act gets new backing from MSPs on Holyrood’s justice committee

The Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, which was introduced in 2012 by the SNP majority government, has been facing a repeal, led by Labour MSP James Kelly. 

The justice committee convener Margaret Mitchell shared her thoughts on the results of the Justice committee, “Whether the act is finally repealed or not, the message that came through from the vast majority of witnesses was that this legislation needs to be changed. It is vitally important that our laws actually improve relationships between various groups within society, including law enforcement and sports fans. The bill will now proceed to its next stage, with a majority of members supporting it.”

At the same time, members of the committee said they strongly condemned sectarianism, hate crime and offensive behaviour. It has been suggested that these behaviours can be tackled and prosecuted using other legislation and common law.

MSP James Kelly welcomed the decision from the Justice committee and said it was a result of, “the weight of evidence against the Football Act.”

However, Community Safety minister Annabelle Ewing said there is still strong support for the Act to remain, “A range of organisations have highlighted real concerns to MSPs about depriving our law enforcement agencies of this legislation completely without putting a viable alternative in place.”

Further, supporters of the Act have called for MSPs to delay considering the repeal of the legislation until Lord Bracadale completes the ongoing review of hate crime legislation, in the spring of 2018. However, the committee has rejected this call and plans to consider the repeal beforehand.

Voting will begin next Thursday on the repeal of the Act.

For the full article please visit:

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

Watch our Talking Heads - a collection of video interviews real people, expressing their real views.