Scottish Parliament votes to repeal hated football act

2 Nov 2016

Douglas Ross

The Scottish Parliament has formally voted to repeal controversial legislation in relation to offensive behaviour at football matches.

A majority of MSPs backed the Scottish Conservative motion to scrap the law, which has been consistently criticised by fans and the legal profession.

The issue was brought to Holyrood as part of Scottish Conservative business, spearheaded by shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross.

And the vote in favour of the motion of 64 votes to 63 dealt the SNP a rare defeat in the chamber.

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Douglas Ross said:

“The SNP can now make no mistake – the Scottish Parliament has voted to repeal this hated law.

“There’s nowhere for the Scottish Government to go, it has to scrap what was unpopular and ill-thought out legislation.

“This is a historic moment for Holyrood – the days of the SNP railroading through this kind of thing are over.

“Football fans and the legal community will welcome this vote, which formally puts on record the Scottish Parliament’s opposition to the legislation.

“It wrongly targeted football fans, the overwhelming majority of whom are law-abiding, and didn’t even work on those who did cause problems.

“I look forward to ministers now detailing the timetable for repealing this law.”


MSPs voted 64 votes to 63 to repeal the offensive behaviour at football legislation.

Below is the motion, in the name of Scottish Conservative MSP Douglas Ross, that was approved.

“That the Parliament believes that sectarian behaviour and hate crime are a blight on society in Scotland and should not be tolerated under any circumstances; notes that there are laws in place to prosecute acts of hatred in addition to the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012; further notes with concern that the legal profession has repeatedly criticised the 2012 Act for being unworkable and badly drafted; regrets that the Scottish Government hastily pushed the legislation through the Parliament, despite widespread criticism from stakeholders and opposition parties, and urges the Scottish Government to repeal the Act as a matter of priority.”