Just three SPFL nightclubs are in favour of adopting strict liability to deal with fan misbehaviour, a BBC Sport Scotland poll has discovered.

The measure, which could involve holding clubs accountable for the activities of their fans, has returned to this agenda in recent weeks after a spate of incidents in Scottish stadiums.

However, in a survey of Scotland’s 42 senior clubs, only Championship sides Partick Thistle and Queen of the South, and Annan Athletic in League 2, said they would back such a movement.

An overall total of 14 clubs said they were contrary to strict liability, 17 were not ready to comment, and eight did not respond.

What’s strict liability?
Strict liability is where nightclubs can be penalized for the behaviour of its fans aside from whether the golf club is always to blame. It’s employed by Uefa for European rivals

How did we reach this point?

Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster said”nothing is off the dining table” in dealing with”improper” behavior after two incidents at the club Easter Road in March.

To begin with , a spectator threw a glass bottle at Celtic’s Scott Sinclair within a 2-0 Scottish Cup quarter-final win for the Scottish champions. Then, six days later, a buff faced Rangers captain James Tavernier at the side of the pitch within a 1 1 Scottish Premiership draw.

After the moment of the, SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said the league will require”any right steps”.

Those incidents came later Steve Clarke said he had been exposed to sectarian abuse against the”dark ages” throughout his side’s 5-0 Scottish Cup last-16 playoff defeat by Rangers in February.

After that, Police Scotland researched reports of ancestral singing in a match between Celtic and Hearts at Tynecastle – and coin throwing out of Celtic fans – and warned of a growth in”sectarianism and consistently thuggish behaviour” at Scottish football.

And earlier this month, it emerged Police Scotland would be to look to accounts of sectarian chanting aimed at Rangers manager Steven Gerrard from Aberdeen fans.

‘They can’t bury their heads in the sand’ – what they said

Former Aberdeen manager of soccer Willie Miller

It’s shame on the nightclubs if they don’t really accept strict liability. If you’re licensed to sponsor a conference, you ought to be accountable for what happens at your ground. Whatever sanctions the government wish to place up on some other incident, they need to be able to do that. It’s a case of taking responsibility rather than burying your face in the sand.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a small minority, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s the away fans, it’s your responsibility, hosting that event, to make certain there are not the moments we’ve had lately concerning players’ safety, racial abuse or sectarian abuse. It’s right down to that club to be certain doesn’t happen. That is a big step ahead of alienating these idiots out of our own game.

Hamilton Academical vice-chairman Les Grey

Politicians are not going to make this move. We will really have a situation with some type of tariff strategy in place for punishment. I don’t understand how to work. At what point do we will need to punish the fan so that it turns into a true deterrent? For me, if a fan throws a bottle that threatens a life or could give some body brain damage, they ought to be imprisoned for 12 weeks.

Why could we punish a club that is doing what they could to mitigate a position when one person, because of a social dilemma, decides to throw a bottle, a punch or worse? It doesn’t work. We saw Fifa and Uefa employ these fines to fans plus it doesn’t change anything. We now have to get other mechanics to create fans answerable for their own actions.

Partick Thistle chief executive Gerry Britton

It’s a really difficult situation but I’m of this opinion that we have to become self policing. That’s the main way we’re likely to produce a true impact and that is to improve behaviour. Maintaining people in isolation and putting him through the court, does it establish an example? Yes. Does this have a real effects? I think it’s been proven it really doesn’t.

We have to get to the point where we state to nightclubs’look you’re likely to have to run your ship in the right way of course in the event that you do not you are the one which is going to be held accountable’. I believe initially fans should. How realistic that is I’m not convinced. The Tartan Army are great for this if anybody is around whatever, they will be those to buy them out.

A Scottish Government spokesman

There’s just a collective requirement across society to truly own a zero tolerance approach on atomic behaviour. Our favorite solution has ever been that football clubs and authorities proactively shape and deliver a solution that is robust, transparent and contains a powerful element of liberty. But, we’re looking at what further action could be taken and we will consider a complete variety of choices.


Partick Thistle, Queen of the South,” Annan Athletic


How does Uefa describe strict liability?

All associations and clubs have been liable for the following inappropriate behaviour on the part of their fans and may be subject to corrective measures and directives even when they could prove the absence of any uncertainty in relation to the organisation of the match:

  • The intrusion or attempted invasion of the area of drama;
  • The throwing of things;
  • The light of any other items;
  • The use of laser pointers or similar gadgets;
  • The use of expressions, words, items or any means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, philosophical, spiritual or offensive nature;
  • Acts of damage;
  • Causing a disturbance throughout national anthems;
  • Any other absence of sequence or subject observed inside or round the scene.

This season, Rangers were also fined 16,000 euros after a supporter ran on the pitch and for the throwing of items during their Europa League group stage match with Villarreal at Ibrox.

And then Hibernian had to cover for 8,000 euros after a use of the throwing of items in the away leg of these Europa League qualifier against Asteras Tripolis.

In prior campaigns, Celtic are repeatedly fined for a range of offences, for example fans running on into the area, chants and banners deemed to be offensive, and the use of pyrotechnics.

Additional coverage by Jordan Elgott and Daldeep Kaur


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