Dear Mr Regan,
The actions of a large number of the Scotland support at Hampden last night (Wednesday 25th March) brought great shame on our nation by their politically/racially motivated behaviour in the booing of the National Anthem of Northern Ireland (and the UK).
This game was covered by current legislation.
OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOUR AT FOOTBALL AND THREATENING COMMUNICATIONS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2012
We would refer you to the following, and we have highlighted the
relevant sections for ease of reference.
1. OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOUR AT REGULATED FOOTBALL MATCHES
(1)A person commits an offence if, in relation to a regulated football
(a)the person engages in behaviour of a kind described in subsection (2),
(2)The behaviour is—
(a)expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, a group of persons based on their membership (or presumed membership) of—
(i)a religious group,
(ii)a social or cultural group with a perceived religious affiliation,
(iii)a group defined by reference to a thing mentioned in subsection (4),
(b)expressing hatred of, or stirring up hatred against, an individual based on the individual’s membership (or presumed membership) of a group mentioned in any of sub paragraphs (i) to (iii) of paragraph (a),
(c)behaviour that is motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred of a group mentioned in any of those sub-paragraphs,
(d)behaviour that is threatening, or
(e)other behaviour that a reasonable person would be likely to consider
(4)The things referred to in subsection (2)(a)(iii) are—
(c)nationality (including citizenship),
(d)ethnic or national origins,
The disgusting booing of the Anthem was clearly an anti English, anti British statement and thus there is a strong case that it is in contravention of the Act. This is not the first time it has occurred and it will clearly continue until the SFA and/or Police Scotland intervene.
We would ask you to consider the following actions in light of the potential breach of the Legislation:
1. Will the SFA make a public statement strongly criticising those who took part in the booing?
2. Will CCTV be used to identify culprits with a view to banning them from future football games?
3. Will a formal complaint be sent to Police Scotland along with CCTV images asking them to investigate the alleged criminality?
This legislation is being used widely in domestic football against supporters of your Member Clubs so is it not the time for the SFA to show leadership in this grave matter?
At a time when the SFA are trying to get Member Clubs to accept 'Strict Liability' for fans actions, it is surely inconceivable for the National Body to stick its head in the sand and say "Move along, nothing to see here" and "Ach, sure it is just the banter...".
Try telling that to a fan of a Member club facing a jail sentence for lesser actions.
We are happy to agree that it is poor legislation (according to at least one Sheriff) but it should be poor legislation for EVERYBODY.
Fans of Member Clubs facing persecution.