Monday, October 31st, 2016
The Scottish Greens will work with other Holyrood parties to repeal the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act as quickly as possible.
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Greens’ co-convener reinforced the party’s commitment to repealing the Act during his speech to conference last weekend.
The Greens’ justice spokesperson John Finnie outlined how it is wrong to take on wider issues in society by “only targeting people who are football fans”.
John Finnie MSP said:
“There is no place for sectarianism in Scottish football, however Scottish Greens believe that the football Act unnecessarily restricts freedom of expression and is not the most effective means of addressing these concerns. Green MSPs voted against the legislation in 2011 and Patrick Harvie’s final words in the Stage 3 debate were foretelling when he talked about the mistakes in the Bill that MSPs would ‘need to come back to correct in good time’.
“Throughout the passage of the Bill in S4 the Greens repeatedly made it clear that there may be a case for incitement to hatred legislation in Scots law but that this should be developed with careful consideration, a significant level of consensus and it must treat everyone equal before the law.
“The issues of homophobia and transphobia also need tackled in football, but with a society-wide approach. Let’s make legislation which treats everyone equal before the law, otherwise we’re dealing with forms of discrimination by only targeting people who are football fans. This is an unhelpful approach and we’ll be working with MSPs from all parties to ensure that the Act is repealed as quickly as possible.”