Scotland to rush through football hatred legislation

Tough new laws targeting racists, bigots and sectarianism at football matches have been proposed by the Scottish Government.

The draft legislation would create two offences relating to behaviour deemed to “incite religious, racial or other forms of hatred” in and around football grounds and on the internet.

The Bill is being fast-tracked through parliament so the law is in place in time for the new football season on July 23 and if passed by MSPs, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill would mean those convicted could spend as long as five years in prison and be banned from football grounds.

Existing law sees those who disrupt football matches charged with breach of the peace, which carries a maximum one-year sentence. However, the new Bill targets behaviour deemed to be threatening, abusive, disorderly or offensive.