I know we have Hibs in the League Cup on our mind today but would like to look ahead to Saturday. The umbrella group, Fans Against Criminalisation, have organised a rally in GEORGE SQUARE before our home league game against Hibs. I asked the group who they were, what their objectives are and why we should go along on Saturday, and was very impressed with their answers:
“Fans Against Criminalisation is a campaign group founded by five fan organisations (Green Brigade, Celtic Trust, Celtic Supporters Association, Affiliation of Celtic Supporters, Association of Irish Celtic Supporters Clubs). The campaign was formed on the back of the Green Brigade’s well-received protest at the Inverness game and after many previous discussions between the organisations about the Bill. We decided to come together to campaign against the Bill.
“Our objective is to ‘Kill the Bill’, the first part which deals with ‘offensive behaviour at football’ anyway. We have no problem with the government trying to tackle societal problems like sectarianism but these are not football’s problems alone and where sectarian crimes are committed then existing laws can be used to arrest and prosecute offenders. The new law goes far beyond sectarianism and captures anything that may offend or may cause disorder. This is only applied to football fans and it is ludicrous given that there is little or no disorder in Scottish football grounds and that routine aspects of football rivalry and tribalism will now be criminal offences. Government ministers have said fans who do anything from blessing yourself to singing a national anthem could fall foul of the proposes new law.
“The Government has shown little interest in fans’ views on the Bill. F.A.C. will be campaigning vigorously over the coming weeks and months and will be making our views heard. If the Bill passes then we will continue to protest against it, and challenge it legally and politically. The Celtic support is a very powerful potential constituency and the Scottish Government should be mindful of that.
“The rally is the starting point for the campaign. We need Celtic fans to get along and show their support for the campaign and add weight to our voice. We’ve asked people to assemble at 12.00 and the demo will start at 12.30 with speakers from the campaign. There’s no headline acts – Saturday is simply a time for ordinary Celtic fans to come together and unite against the Bill; a time to come together and send a message to the politicians that we will fight them all the way. Everyone should be doing their best to get along to George Square on Saturday and say no to the Bill.”
If at all possible, get along on Saturday and register your support.