THIS weekend sees the first round of football fixtures to take place following the introduction of the new legislation regarding offensive behaviour at games.
Chief Inspector Steven Lowther, who is the ACPOS Football Liason Officer for the Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said that the legislation will send out a simple message and that for the overwhelming majority of people who go to games, this legislation will have no impact.
He said: “This legislation sends out a clear signal to those who still cannot drag themselves into the 21st Century. It says that songs of hatred and actions that cause offence must not be a part of our game in Scotland.”
He continued: “The majority of supporters who go to games are only interested in following their team and being a part of our national sport.
“This is particularly so across the region for supporters of our senior teams - Stranraer, Annan Athletic and Queen of the South.
“Sadly, though, for some people, football is an opportunity to sing songs or wave banners and flags that are offensive and get themselves involved in things that have nothing to do with sport and everything to do with hatred.”
The rules also cover travel to and from the games and will allow Football Banning Orders (FBO) to be handed out to trouble makers, as well as anything from a £40 fine to five years in prison.
The Inspector went on: “I believe that football should be about football and nothing else. There is so much that is good about the game, so much for us to celebrate and I hope that this is what we can concentrate on in future. The Scottish FA is asking every fan to Focus on Football and this is a campaign that I am sure every supporter in Scotland can and will get behind.”
The new law will clamp down on fans expressing or inciting religious, racial or other forms of hatred; using threatening behaviour or behaviour which would be offensive to a reasonable person;