Bigots face 10-year football match bans12 July 2006

Bigots and racists can be banned from football games in Scotland for up to 10 years from early next season.

Banning orders, which can prevent troublemakers from attending SPL, SFL or Scotland matches, come into force in September, it was confirmed today. Under the new powers, fans convicted of shouting sectarian or racist abuse in Scotland may find themselves banned from every UK stadium.

Chief constables will be able to apply to courts to ban individuals convicted of football-related offences – anywhere in Scotland – from all matches. The courts will also have the power to stop known offenders from travelling to see their club's European games.

The tough guidelines become law on September 1, five weeks after the first SPL fixtures of the new season on July 29. More than 3500 fans have been banned since the orders were introduced in England and Wales six years ago.

A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said, “Football banning orders are another important tool in tackling football disorder, including sectarian offences. We hope the small minority of supporters who cause trouble will think about the implication of their actions before they become involved in disorder at football matches.”

Roddy McNulty of FARE partner, Show Racism the Red Card, said, “Banning orders should prove to be another important tool in tackling racism around football. SRTRC will be monitoring their effectiveness closely over the coming years.”