Strict liability


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  Stands will be shut, ticket allocations withdrawn, but almost certainly only once.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.

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  1. Hrvatski Jim on




    Sanctions Needed on Sectarianism. Headline picture concentrates on Celtic Fans with green, white and gold colours.



    I do agree that sanctions are needed to root out all forms of sectarianism.



    May I suggest that sanctions are equally applied to our national broadcaster and other press and media which consistently manages to include distinct, negative references to Celtic in headlines whilst often referring to other negative issues as “football” rather than making a direct reference to any club.



    The media and press are a major part of how sectarianism is presented to the people of our country, and wider, and must be under a duty to make those reports in a fair, impartial and, indeed, non-sectarian way.



    Regular readers of this blog will note that I do not normally get involved in the sectarian debate but this caption is disgraceful and has riled me to comment.

  2. The Battered Bunnet


    14:07 on


    29 May, 2015



    I agree with what you say but it needs to be in place then when it’s applied incorrectly it needs to be challenged and over time it will be ironed out. The question is do people have the energy for the number of challenges this may take?




    I understand what you said to Paul and why.



    But that issue has always been an elephant in our room.



    If that bill is to be killed (hopefully) then peripheral stuff like flares just cannot be ignored. If we show no inclination to keep things right in our own (licensed) house then we will leave ourselves exposed to interference and intrusion.



    Specifically, if we ignore it, pretend it hasn’t happened or say that it really harms no one, then we really do give them ammunition, which they will most definitely exploit.



    Policing and stewards cost the club money, and if the Safety Group is told that Celtic are not enforcing a sensible safety rule (such as no flares) then the club will be obliged to increase stewarding or otherwise show that it is addressing the situation.



    It is a legal requirement and thus will not go away if the club ignore it.



    As fans, we correctly object to being searched, but we cannot push for no searches and just shrug when someone takes advantage of no searches to bring in something that is unacceptable. We want to be consulted on supporter issues, again correctly, but that means accepting some (often uncomfortable) responsibilities as part of that deal.



    This odious bill is justified in part by other elements who point to or even engineer situations where aspects of that act are apparently necessary. Selective thinking on our part only empowers them further. I know I am conflating issues a bit here, since flares are a safety issue as opposed to an offence under the OBaF act, but the rationale which forms the basis of their thinking lumps all fan behavior together.



    If we want the bill to die, we need to look at the whole picture and embrace the price that we will all have to pay to force it’s withdrawal.



    I want no police at all in Celtic Park – except for the away fans.



    Kill the Bill




  4. TBB………….Brilliantly put mate.



    Their definition of sectarianism is what the issue is. The ‘hate Irish/Catholic’ is a given in the nations DNA, until that is addressed nothing changes.

  5. The Battered Bunnet



    PS Check out Ebay shortly. For Sale: One Soap Box, hardly used…






    I’d be interested in a high horse if you have one of those going?





    It will become a stick with which to batter us,another law to be applied subjectively.



    Your post on the matter should be required reading for anyone involved,especially wrt its Sister Act,OBaF.



    Grateful thanks for putting words in my mouth!!!!



    PS,aye that Bunch of Grapes was the one in question. Mark’s stepdad took it over about 92,a few years after it had been graced by your presence.



    Probably pushed the price up!



    I was in there last year with PETEC for old times sake. Chain pub. Had one and effed off.



    You and your wife have more to be proud of than the pub has since you first met.

  7. The Battered Bunnet


    14:07 on


    29 May, 2015


    I support strict liability in principle, but have a concern that the legacy attitudes prevalent in football – and Scottish society more widely – will be divisive, undermining the very reason it is being suggested.



    In a modern society, equality and diversity are bedrocks, and discrimination on the basis of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, beliefs etc (the protected human characteristics) undermines social cohesion. It’s consequently unlawful.



    Celebrating one’s identity is a right.



    Discriminating against another’s identity is a wrong.



    Society increasingly abhors offences motivated in part by the colour of the victim’s skin or presumed sexuality, their disability or ethnicity.



    We encourage Gay Pride, we’re Positive About Disability, whether Gael or Pakistani, Pole or Chinese, welcome to One Scotland, many cultures. Sing us your songs. Cook for us. Tell us your story.



    But we’ve also got legacy attitudes held by the vestigial dinosaurs of the land. We really don’t like that Catholicy/Irishy thing. It makes us feel awkward. It’s somehow subversive. It’s ‘sectarian’ you know. That’s it; sectarian.



    You wear a crucifix and get spat upon, what did you expect? You sing about “The Boys of the Old Brigade” you’re promoting terrorism! You get beaten up wearing a Celtic top, you brought it on yourself! Just like the rape victim in the mini skirt.



    Celebrating all cultures is encouraged, unless it’s Irish culture, in which case it’s the other side of the sectarian coin. And one side’s as bad as the other, isn’t it.



    Still today in Scotland, being positive about the Pope equates wholly with and is the ‘sectarian’ reflection of the “FTP brigade”.



    Strict Liability in football will only serve to benefit our society, when our attitudes towards Irish identity are congruous with the principles of Equality. The worry is that the application of strict liability will serve only to reinforce the old, vestigial attitudes.



    Rather than progress, we will regress.



    In summary: I have no confidence that those likely to be responsible for applying strict liability are sufficiently educated, informed and disinterested to do so impartially.






    PS Check out Ebay shortly. For Sale: One Soap Box, hardly used…





    Your last line is amusing – but don’t underestimate the quality of what you posted. Irecognise everything in it. It’s disappointing that the BBC report focusses on football here – especially since there is a statement within the report that highlights the media’s responsibilities :



    “if sectarianism is to change from its current position as an issue characterised by emotive language and a defensive and reactive blame culture, it is crucial that the media in Scotland deal with sectarianism in a considered and honest manner, prioritising ‘light over heat’ and evidence over sensationalism at all times (paragraphs 6.23 and 6.23.1).”



    There is also a statement regarding denominational schooling :



    “We do not believe that sectarianism stems from, or is the responsibility of, denominational schooling, or, specifically, Catholic schools, nor that sectarianism would be eradicated by closing such institutions (paragraph 6.38). However, we fully recognise the important role that education plays in addressing social issues and bringing young people together. We have concluded that those involved in the delivery of education should develop opportunities for engagement, co-operation and relationship building (paragraph 6.44). ”



    However, the bit that worries me slightly is what appears (to me) to open the debate further about what “sectarian” actually means. One of the recommendations is that the working definition used in the report (which defines sectarianism – correctly is my view – in terms of religious descrimination ) should be tested by the Scottish government :






    6. We recognised the importance of finding a clear definition of sectarianism which accurately reflects the experiences of those living in communities across Scotland. Based on the evidence and information we have gathered, we have constructed the following working definition (paragraph 3.9):



    Sectarianism in Scotland is a complex of perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, actions and structures, at personal and communal levels, which originate in religious difference and can involve a negative mixing of religion with politics, sporting allegiance and national identifications. It arises from a distorted expression of identity and belonging. It is expressed in destructive patterns of relating which segregate, exclude, discriminate against or are violent towards a specified religious other with significant personal and social consequences.



    7. We recommend that this definition of sectarianism should be tested by the Scottish Government, those delivering work to tackle sectarianism in communities and other stakeholders to establish whether it accurately reflects all of the sectarianism being experienced in communities and whether it allows us to form a common understanding of sectarianism in Scotland (paragraph 3.14).”



    Perhaps I am worrying unnecessarily but that appears to state that we should challenge the notion of what we currently classify as “sectarian”. In other words – not neccessarily religious discrimination but something wider.



    Any thoughts?

  8. Battered you have beaten me to the punch. In a normal healthy society stict liablity would of course be sensible. It would encourage a sense of action and consequence.



    But we do not live in a normal society. We live in an insitutionally racist society. The victims in this society are irish catholics – the targets for the racism.



    Laws are passed not to tackle this issue but instead to criminalise the target.



    And so I skim read the latest report on sectarianism and its a shining example of the instutional racism at work. Here is a quote from their evidence section.




    3.11.8 The Advisory Group heard that sectarianism was exclusively or disproportionately, anti-Catholic in nature. Some felt that ‘sectarianism’ was an unhelpful term since the problem was actually ‘anti-Irish racism’. The Advisory Group recognises the seriousness of both anti-Catholicism and anti-Irish racism, and their role within the wider problem of sectarianism. At the same time, the evidence demonstrates that sectarian prejudice and action also crosses religious boundaries: no one group is sole perpetrator nor sole victim of sectarian attitudes and behaviour in Scotland. ”



    This is despite the fact that their survey based evidence (more on this shortly) clear shows a distance between the feeling of sectarianism towards catholics and that towards protestants.



    Their desperation to take a very theoretical and academic approach to even defining sectarianism is evidence of their desire to cloud the issue. It is instiutional racism at work. The very definition of it.



    Have a read of this section.



    “3.11.9 Key amongst these patterns – found both in survey data and in much of the evidence heard by the Advisory Group – is that sensitivities and perceptions are more acute amongst certain communities within Scotland, defined both religiously and geographically. Thus we found more sensitivity to such issues and concerns in west-central Scotland, and considerably more in the Catholic community. This suggests both that a community-focus for anti-sectarian work remains highly salient, and that brokering meaningful inter-community dialogue will be crucial in airing and addressing remaining concerns about sectarianism. ”



    You see the problem is before their very eyes – it is west of scotland catholics who feel it most their research tells them – but they then conclude – in a blaze of vague academia that this can be sorted by talking to those communities. What do you conclude from that? That west of scotland catholics are delusional, that the problem isnt real, that they just need convincing?



    Isnt that an extraordinary conclusion for this committee to make?



    Now have a read of this:



    “3.11.11 The Advisory Group has refused the temptation to identify singular causes for sectarianism in Scotland as inadequate responses to a complicated problem. The commissioned research of the Community Impact of Public Processions revealed that attitudes around, and experiences of, Loyalist and Irish Republican parades were complex, and there was evidence that the main parading organisations have made some efforts towards improving planning and stewarding of their events. The Advisory Group met with key parading organisations and believes there is potential to assuage negative perceptions around such events whilst upholding the fundamental freedoms of assembly and expression. Such progress would require fuller acknowledgement of the impact of events on others and a willingness to take responsibility for management of parades and their consequences. ”



    So there is the potential to, ahem assuage negative perceptions!



    Again then, the problem isnt with all those orange marches folks. Its with your perception of them. If you viewed them more kindly then it would all be fine.



    Throughout all of this , extraordinarily no statistics are quoted on sectarian attacks and who their victims largely are? Isnt that remarkable?



    There is also, remarkably, and with only anectodal evidence surrounding the referendum quoted, a conclusion that there is little evidence of sectarianism at the heart of scottish politics.



    The report represents what scotland is. Instituionally racist. It remains stubbornly in denial and the report attempts to confuse the debate and ensure that it is clouded in academic rhetoric and wooly conclusions. It avoids the issues completely.



    It will be used as an excuse to bolster the OBFAC and probably strengthen its racist intent.

  9. Mr Pastry



    Spot on. “We are the 16/17 per cent” doesn’t have much of a ring to it though





    Considered response,and my thanks.



    I understand your point of view,of course. And that of PAUL67



    I’m no fan of flares,old joke I wasn’t a fan in the 70s so why now? But I genuinely see a problem.



    Call me paranoid,you might be right.



    But it won’t be the first time I’ve been right. AND paranoid.

  11. Magic, a debate I’d enjoy participating in and I need to head to a meeting with my SNP MSP!





    Gonny tell me how to turn that mail 90* so that it looks the part when I print it?




  13. NegAnon2,



    I was very interested in this sentence: ” Some felt that ‘sectarianism’ was an unhelpful term since the problem was actually ‘anti-Irish racism’.”



    My view has always been that the core issue is anti Catholic sectarianism. This leads to hatred of anything that the bigots perceive to be wholly or mainly Catholic, such as Celtic, Ireland, the colour green, eating fish n a Friday, etc. etc.

  14. NegAnon2


    14:33 on


    29 May, 2015




    Good post mate. Nail on head.

  15. Sanctioned for what?



    That is going to be the problem.



    There would have to be a definition or criteria of what is sanctionable behaviour to apply a points deduction as such a sanction would be costly and contested if behaviour is on the cusp.



    Lawyers to the left of me jokers to the right



    Here I am stuck in the middle with you.



    An alternative to attack the disease and not the symptoms is more likely to prove successful in the long term.






    Whilst a few years old the suggested method still is relevant, although today the truth seems to be a concept too painful for football and society to grasp.

  16. The ability of people to see what they want to see and to find what they want to find amazes me,really does…..The ability of some people on here to turn anything to suit their own Opinion is truely something to behold…





    Mibbe not quite.



    If an Italian descent Catholic opened a cafe/chippy in a town and draped his premises in the colours of his national flag,he would be judged on his product.



    If an Irish descent Catholic did the same,his windaes would be panned in.

  18. jamesgang



    08:23 on 29 May, 2015










    There must be some number of CQN Cornerers needing to get to Specsavers if they mistook a red beanie with a Norwegian flag on the front for a butchers apron!






    HH jamesgang





    I don’t think the Norwegian Beanie will take off at Celtic Park. I loved your Support for Ronny the Bhoy, in wearing it. Top Class. :D



    The huns won’t ever wear Green, they won’t even sit on a Green seat, oh how ironic that Green and Whyte have made them a laughing stock.



    I was never a big fan of Skippy when he was @ Celtic but he played a fine game last night playing deeper.



    I was delighted Big Mick scored a Peach of a header, although he didn’t have the best of games, he is a guy you would want in the trenches with you. I always remember seeing him trying to header a ball whilst lying prone on the deck against the Huns, literally risking his Life for Celtic, that sheer Bravery has been shown once, at the most twice in this Country. If it was reversed it would have been shown constantly.



    I thought the Motherwell defence looked poor, I never watched the whole game though so maybe I missed all their best defending. Sevco were woeful. ;))



    Their defence, their traditional bedrock, was embarressing and how Hibs couldn’t knock them out is a mystery.



    To be fair, they are a fledgling Club and their pluckiness got them all the way to the playoff final.



    The Motherwell Manager certainly knew the score when he left out the ex Celts in the previous game.



    The next game will see if Mibbery is going to rise or fade to grey.



    All Scottish Clubs really detest those Zombies, of that there is no doubt in my Mind.





    “There would have to be a definition or criteria of what is sanctionable behaviour”



    Aye,right you are. That is the problem right there.



    Another subjective law,and the cognoscenti saying it canny happen even as it does.



    We got done with OBaF,and you still put your faith in natural justice,some man.

  20. BMCUW



    Sorry pal , nae idea.






    We’ve asked for two and half years for a list of the songs which are ‘offensive’. Still waiting.

  21. 20,000 huns sing ,well we all know what they sung at hampden ,nothing gets done,people unhappy,find a way to punish them under Strict Liability..people Still unhappy….I dont understand ,I really dont….





    Nae bother,bud. I’ll just push the buttons and shout. As usual.

  23. Pogmathonyahun aka Laird of the Smiles on

    bobby murdoch’s curled-up winklepickers


    13:47 on 29 May, 2015


    Since most of us will have been recently paid,if you can spare a few quid for this lass,as championed recently by POGMATHONYAHUN





    Many thanks.




    Bobby, thanks for doing that. I was going to post again today as it was pay day for most working people.


    Also OZ Bhoys can you please spread the news on this one on your social networking sites, that would be much appreciated.



    Hail! Hail! PMTYH

  24. HT



    I know.



    Make that the reason why sanctions need defining before any attempt at liability is enforced.



    The clubs will, so make sure it’s the same song.

  25. Got to agree with Blantyretim. There is a societal fault in Scotland vis~a~vis The Irish and Catholicism.



    Couple of years ago went to my uncles funeral in Coatbridge, at the service in the Crematorium (which was not in Coatbridge). I was beside two Protestant brothers, they were both middle-aged professional men. But there unease and exchange of glances when I was blessing my-self etc was palpable.



    Coming from a part of England where such a service would celebrate people expressing their condolences/ bereavement/ commiserations from many Religions, Ethnicities and Backgrounds and be comfortable about I found this very odd.



    Scotland will never begin to tackle sectarianism until it realises anti Irish and anti Catholic discrimination must be tackled by re-education and zero tolerance approach.






    The BBC has got to be my favourite British Institution, but the bias and Ibrox-minded-ness for me, again coming from England is quite astonishing.



    Read a report leading up to last night’s clash – Rangers (sic) are the bookies favourites and have won two and drawn once in the play-off games so far.



    Strange thing – I’m sure they played 4 games.



    Yet I’ve Said many times, it’s this sort of nonsense that allows them to consistently “believe” and underachieve, so keep the illusion up I say.



    Hail Hail





    I kid you not,this is not a time for the oul’ classic from your Union days.



    Refer back to committee despite a clear mandate from your members,we wish to understand the full implications of this.



    By the time you have done this,everyone is subject to newly established working practices and wondering wtf happened.



    Naw,I’m not for due process on this. I’ve seen their previous.



    Time to stop seeing the other person’s point of view when the other person is clearly a bigoted b…..d or scared to call out the huns.



    Rosa Parkes,mate.

  27. BMCUWP



    I don’t understand where you got this



    “We got done with OBaF,and you still put your faith in natural justice,some man.”

  28. Hamiltontim



    You wont get a response because there isn’t a conclusive answer to what is offensive or can be deemed offensive. I can claim to be offended at anything as can you.

  29. Poor article Paul.



    Do you really believe that “strict liability would end offensive chanting by thousands overnight.”?



    This or any disciplinary measure would depend on even-handed policing by Police, Stewards & Football authorities and there is no danger of that.



    It was the “peculiar acceptance” of the Billy Boys in Scotland that led to Uefa initially dismissing a match delegates complaint in this regard.



    Cue Scottish establishment jumping up and down protesting that we do not have a peculiar acceptance of anti-Irish racism/bigotry and an appeal by the delegate led to Rangers being fined in 2006.



    Left to our authorities they would fail to hear the worst chanting of their favourite team(a la 2011 CIS League Cup Final) and pick out the slightest hint of a noise from Celtic even when there were none (a la Smith v Rheims).



    We don’t have a level playing field to introduce such sanctions.





    My pleasure. I hope her treatment is successful.

  31. ‘Strict liability: if football fans misbehave in a stadium, their club is held liable.’







    A pedant writes:



    Is that not vicarious liablity rather than strict liability?

  32. blantyretim is praying for the Knox family on



    Fav uncle was asking after you yesterday


    AULDHEID 1506






    14:45 on 29 May, 2015


    Sanctioned for what?



    That is going to be the problem.



    There would have to be a definition or criteria of what is sanctionable behaviour to apply a points deduction as such a sanction would be costly and contested if behaviour is on the cusp.



    Lawyers to the left of me jokers to the right



    Here I am stuck in the middle with you.



    An alternative to attack the disease and not the symptoms is more likely to prove successful in the long term.






    Whilst a few years old the suggested method still is relevant, although today the truth seems to be a concept too painful for football and society to grasp.






    That’s where I got it from.



    Your usual MO.






    And losing because the oppo are more determined than you. With more to gain.

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