Strict liability: if football fans misbehave in a stadium, their club is held liable.
This is the Uefa way and is how most European national associations conduct their business. Not in Scotland. In Scotland there is a belief that some problems are so entrenched, it would be unfair to penalise clubs, who do whatever they can to discourage fans from, for example, setting off flares. Here, a club which does everything it can to stop an errant act is not held liable.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say some clubs fear strict liability. Celtic cannot stop people setting off flares, they take steps to discourage it, so, the argument goes, why fine or otherwise punish Celtic?
It’s a cop out. I’d hate to see points deducted, leagues decided, because a club was proxy for a strict liability offender, but everything else is on the table. Clubs are poor at policing their own, there are in-built inhibitors which make doing so difficult. Strict liability takes the issue out of their hands. Stands will be shut, ticket allocations withdrawn, but almost certainly only once.
Flare carriers are the most difficult to police as they are the act of a small number of individuals, who are able to protect themselves [although not their club]by hiding in a crowd, but strict liability would end offensive chanting by thousands overnight.
For that, it’s worth it.
Only caught last night’s Motherwell game in highlights. Newco looked like the Rangers I remember from the early 80s. Despite being a mid-table mediocre outfit, Rangers were, and played like, a big team back then. They attacked with all they had, but John Greig was often out-thought by the manager of a small club, who could organise a defence and break with purpose.
Football tactic students will be captivated by the second leg. Do Newco go on the attack, and risk the same outcome, or do they learn to live within their limitations, hoping to tempt Motherwell beyond theirs? The team which gets it wrong could lose by three goals. It’s a good job Newco didn’t screw around with the ticket allocation, they’ll need that away end packed and energetic.
Thanks for all the feedback on the new issue of CQN Magazine, lots of great reading.