MARY BACKS THE REPEAL OF FOOTBALL ACT
Mary Fee MSP for West Scotland has welcomed the vote in the Scottish Parliament to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act introduced in 2012, calling the legislation “illiberal” and damaging to the trust between football fans and police.
This week the Scottish Parliament debated the Scottish Government’s Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012 following repeated criticisms by fans groups, law bodies and opposition parties that the SNP’s attempt to tackle sectarian behaviour was rushed and reactionary.
Scottish Labour’s Mary Fee MSP who took part in the debate has welcomed the decision of the Scottish Parliament to repeal the act and called on the Scottish Government to go back to the drawing board, working with fans groups, anti-sectarian charities, churches and law bodies to work to tackle the deep and rooted causes of bigotry in Scotland.
During the debate Mary pointed out that she has often been a victim of sectarian abuse due to the biased assumptions people make about her surname. Mary also pointed out that sectarian abuse, like that she was victim to, happens across wider society and not just at football games, and should not be tolerated or ignored.
The motion proposed by the Scottish Conservatives was supported by MSP’s from all parties, except the SNP, with the vote defeating the Scottish Government by one vote.
Speaking after the debate Mary Fee said:
“Sectarianism is an intolerable form of human behaviour that should never be accepted or ignored. I do not doubt the intentions of the Scottish Government in tackling sectarianism, however they must listen to the will of Parliament.
“Like many others, I believe the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act was rushed and reactionary. The act is illiberal and treats football fans differently. It has damaged trust between fans and police.
“The Scottish Government must go back to the drawing board and work with all stakeholders, including fans, churches, law bodies and charities, to implement a plan that will work to tackle sectarianism across Scotland.”