Celtic has called for the repeal of the controversial new law that aims to stamp out sectarian abuse at Scottish football matches on the grounds that it is “fundamentally illiberal and unnecessarily restricts freedom of expression.” Thousands of people have so far signed a new campaign that seeks to scrap the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012.
There is an August deadline in place for the Government review of the new law which coincides with the date on which researchers from Stirling University are due to publish their findings into the law and how it is operating. The Bill received Royal Assent in 2012.
While many Scottish clubs oppose the controversial new law, it is Celtic who have been the most vocal in opposing it, meeting with Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC), a football supporters group with plans to lobby the Scottish Government into repealing the Act.
A Celtic spokesperson told the media, “We believe that the Act has the potential to discriminate against football supporters. Celtic continues to oppose the Act and, as a contribution to the Scottish Government’s review of the Act, met recently with the Scottish Government to explain our position. We proposed that at a minimum certain offences under the Act should be repealed. Celtic also recently met with Fans Against Criminalisation to discuss how to take this issue forward.”
According to Government figures, at least half of those charged with sectarian abuse, 74 out of 161 cases, were acquitted when taken to court.