SFA chief says fans must be responsible for own actions after ‘appalling’ scenes

Scottish National Stadium Decision Announcement – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell insists football fans have to be responsible for their own behaviour as he described as “appalling” recent scenes in Glasgow city centre.

Thousands of Rangers supporters defied Covid-19 warnings against large gatherings and descended on Ibrox for the final Premiership game of the season against Aberdeen on May 15, then moved to George Square to celebrate the club’s 55th title win.

Five police officers were injured and 28 arrests were made – with more promised – after the celebrations descended into public disorder which provoked widespread outrage.

The then Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf warned strict liability for clubs was “on the table”  if they were unwilling to confront issues among some fans.

Maxwell said: “I can understand why they talk about it. I can understand that they don’t want to see the scenes that we saw at the weekend repeated.

“That was outwith a football stadium obviously and we need to remember that.

“It came off the back of events at George Square and they were appalling.

“They were a disgrace and it is difficult to comprehend how any sector of society wants to go and behave that way.

“Those individuals have no place in Scottish football, I think that is fair to say and I think clubs would absolutely reiterate that comment.

“It is important that we get into stadiums, everyone has missed being able to go and watch their team and I would absolutely expect that the behaviour of fans when they get back into stadiums will be what it should be.

“It has been very challenging during the pandemic and we don’t want to find ourselves in some sort of time warp when the time comes.

“Fundamentally people are responsible for what they do.

“That is the case in any setting, not just football.

“Obviously football clubs work hard to promote messages about discrimination and abuse and all those things.

“We have seen us take the knee before matches, we have seen us stand against racism, we have been involved in the social media boycott recently and clubs are absolutely committed.

“Look at Rangers’ ‘Everyone Anyone’ programme and the good work that is doing and it is important that we continue to drive that.

“But spectators need to take responsibility for their own actions.”

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