Pundits and supporters give evidence on football bill


Football pundits Graham Spiers and Pat Nevin will join a panel of representatives from Scottish football supporters’ associations in giving evidence to the Justice Committee on Tuesday 6 September.

The evidence session, forms part of the committee’s consideration of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

Committee Convener Christine Grahame MSP said:

“We look forward to hearing the views of everyone who is passionate about Scottish football, from the Tartan Army and club supporters who stand on the terraces to the commentators in the boxes.

“The football supporters and pundits have the essential on-the-ground experience gained from years of attendance at Scottish football matches. It is their views we need when scrutinising a Bill that has at its core behaviour at football matches.”

Panel 1

  • Mark Dingwall - Board Member of Rangers Supporters Trust
  • Jeanette Findlay - Chair of Celtic Trust
  • Dr Neil Havis - Secretary of ERIN Hibernian Supporters Trust
  • Greig Ingram - Board Member of Aberdeen FC Trust
  • Martin Riddell - Edinburgh Tartan Army representative for the Association of Tartan Army Clubs
  • Derek Robertson - Board Member of ArabTRUST (The Dundee United Supporters Society)
  • Derek Watson - Chair of Heart of Midlothian Supporters Trust

Panel 2

  • Graham Spiers - journalist and broadcaster
  • Pat Nevin - football writer and broadcaster
  • Dr Stuart Waiton - Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology, University of Abertay, Dundee.
  • Graham Walker – Professor of Political History, Queen’s University, Belfast.

The Justice Committee expects to take further oral evidence on the Bill at its meetings on 6, 13 and 20 September 2011.


The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 16 June 2011 and it was subsequently agreed that it would be considered as an emergency bill.

The Bill provides for two new criminal offences. The first offence would criminalise offensive or threatening behaviour likely to incite public disorder “in relation to ” certain football matches. The second offence of ‘threatening communications’ provides for a criminal offence concerning the sending of communications which contain threats of serious violence or which contain threats intended to incite religious hatred.

Pre-stage 1 scrutiny

While the Bill was not referred to the Justice Committee at Stage 1, the Committee took evidence on 21 and 22 June from a range of organisations prior to the Stage 1 debate on Thursday 23 June to help inform the parliament’s scrutiny of the Bill.

The general principles of the Bill were agreed to on Thursday 23 June. After the Stage 1 debate, the First Minister announced that the Scottish Government would extend the Bill’s timetable to allow further scrutiny by the Justice Committee at Stage 2.

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