Sectarianism

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The Scottish Government are committed to the creation of a sectarian-free Scotland.  By working with communities we will build a Scotland where people of all backgrounds can live and raise their families in peace free from sectarian bigotry and abuse.

As the First Minister Alex Salmond stated:

"...the song tells us for Scotland to flourish then 'Let us be rid of those bigots and fools. Who will not let Scotland, live and let live.' Our new Scotland is built on the old custom of hospitality. We offer a hand that is open to all, whether they hail from England, Ireland, Pakistan or Poland. Modern Scotland is also built on equality. We will not tolerate sectarianism as a parasite in our national game of football or anywhere else in this society."

To help achieve this vision we have committed to spend £9 million to tackle sectarianism in the 2012/13 to 2014/15 financial years.

The Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs appointed the independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland in August 2012 to: assess current available evidence of sectarianism in Scotland; Identify current knowledge gaps; commission new research; develop funding criteria and evaluate project applications for funding and meet relevant stakeholders gathering evidence and opinion of the issue in Scotland.

The Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism in Scotland submitted their report to Scottish Minister on 13 December 2013.

Papers from Advisory Group meetings are available for review.

An overwhelming majority of Scots support stronger action being taken to tackle sectarianism and offensive behaviour associated with football according to a new poll published today.

The survey, carried out by TNS-BMRB, reveals that 91 per cent of Scots back stronger action, with 89 per cent agreeing that sectarianism is offensive and unacceptable in Scottish football.

The results come as the Scottish Parliament begins its consideration of proposals by Ministers to strengthen existing laws through tough new legislation to crack down on offensive and threatening behaviour in Scottish football.

The full results show:

  • 89 per cent of Scots agree that sectarianism is offensive
  • 89 per cent of Scots agree that sectarianism is unacceptable in Scottish football
  • 85 per cent of Scots agree that sectarianism should be a criminal offence
  • 91 per cent agree that stronger action needs to be taken to tackle sectarianism and offensive behaviour associated with football in Scotland