Following on from the events of last Friday, the Raith Supporters Trust today wrote to the Chairman of Raith Rovers calling on the club to support the introduction of strict liability to Scottish football. We feel this is a vital step to help eradicate sectarian and offensive behaviour at football grounds.
We are writing to you in relation to the sectarian chanting at our recent home game against Rangers FC and the ongoing debate in the press around this issue.
I am sure you will agree that the level of sectarian singing at the Rangers match was completely unacceptable and not the kind of atmosphere which supporters of our club wish to be exposed to whilst following their team.
Regrettably, this, and other offensive behaviour, is not a new problem for Scottish football. It is the latest in a long line of incidents which continue to blight our game and numerous initiatives by the football authorities and clubs have failed to eradicate this hatred from Scottish football.
The Raith Supporters Trust believe that a change in approach is required if we are serious about tackling this issue.
That is why we are calling for UEFA’s ‘strict liability’ principles to be introduced into Scottish football. We believe that this change in approach would help eradicate the kind of offensive behaviour we witnessed recently at Stark’s Park. The strict liability principle has been effective in tackling racism, homophobia and other forms of unacceptable behaviour in European football. It applies to all UEFA-run competitions, and has been adopted by a number of individual football associations including the English FA and we believe that it is an approach that is urgently needed in Scottish football.
We are not alone in supporting this change. The introduction of European style sanctions reflect the recommendations made by Scottish Government’s advisory group on sectarianism and have been supported by leading anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth. Simply leaving it to individual clubs and hoping that it goes away has proved to have failed.
Raith Rovers FC has in recent years taken the lead on the future of the Scottish game and issues of sporting integrity. This has improved the reputation of Raith Rovers and given our support an even greater sense of pride in this great club. We hope that you can further enhance this by supporting our call for proposals to introduce strict liability to be brought forward as soon as possible and voting in favour of it.
Chairman of Raith Supporters Trust