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Task Force set up to combat Old Firm violence

Wed 9th Mar 2011 | Football Governance

A football task force has been set up to try and quell any future trouble at Old-Firm derbies.

The move follows scenes at last week's Celtic versus Rangers game which was described by Strathclyde police as "shameful".

As a result of the game which saw three red cards, several touch-line and tunnel confrontations and 34 arrests inside Celtic Park a six point plan to combat future trouble has been drawn up.

The Six-Point plan has been drawn up by representatives from both clubs, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) and Strathclyde Police at a meeting in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Rangers and Celtic detailed a six-point plan agreed by both clubs:

  • The creation of a stand-alone pan-Scotland police football intelligence unit as part of the ongoing review of police forces in Scotland;
  • Greater enforcement of existing legislation to deal with sectarianism and drink related offences;
  • The establishment of a task force comprising senior police officers, government representatives and club security personnel to deliver more consistency in policing of football matches across Scotland;
  • A detailed academic study into the extent of the linkage of football to violent crime committed domestically and in the community;
  • Celtic and Rangers will commit to playing an enhanced role in a partnership approach to encourage responsible drinking;
  • A re-enforced code of conduct for players and officials;

Celtic's chief executive Peter Lawwell said told the BBC: "Football doesn't work alone - in society here in Scotland we are blighted by multiple deprivation, alcohol abuse and violence.

"I think we do understand and accept that around an Old Firm game violence and domestic abuse does take a hike and we must address that."

Martin Bain, chief executive at Rangers shared this view; "There is undoubtedly major issues for Scottish society. With the best will in the world they can't be blamed on a football club, or cured by a football club.

"But we will do everything we can to help and I think the six-point plan that we've devised today will be of assistance and illustrate a way forward."

First Minister Alex Salmond also announced that all parties had agreed eight broad measures to improve behaviour surrounding the fixture.

These include:

  • widespread agreement that existing rules and regulations are consistently applied and respected;
  • to explore practicalities of new scheduling for the Old Firm fixture;
  • to introduce tough new measures to cut alcohol consumption before and after games;
  • to insure all those involved in matches are aware of their responsibilities - this will involve a pre-match briefing from police to players and managers;
  • to support the expansion of community and social partnerships between the Old Firm clubs;
  • to support all work to address sectarianism;
  • to look at measures to extend the scope of football banning orders; and
  • to look at greater public order policing of the internet.

Mr Salmond said an extra £500,000 would be committed to anti-sectarian and anti-racist organisations.

"The meeting emphasises not just measures that can be taken in the short term - it emphasises the joint responsibility to envisage football as a force for good in Scottish society and the potential it has.

"It is our national game, it has enormous prestige and the willingness that was demonstrated by clubs and associations today, to see football in that context and to broadcast that message, was extremely encouraging.

 

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