Statements on sectarianism and football

The issue of sectarianism continues to plague Scottish football, despite efforts to crackdown on the problem.

A BBC Scotland undercover investigation has revealed sectarian and political singing at matches under the control of both the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Premier League.

Rangers, which says it has a rigorous policy to deal with fans displaying sectarian behaviour, has banned 548 supporters for singing offensive songs in the past seven seasons.

Celtic has banned six supporters in the last five seasons.

These are statements in response to BBC Scotland's investigation into sectarianism, Bigotry, Bombs and Football.

Strathclyde Police

"We have continually said that sectarianism is not a problem that you can arrest your way through.

"The issue is not whether one police officer can wade into a crowd of hundreds of people singing songs and start making arrests, it is why on earth people think it is appropriate to sing these kind of offensive songs in the first place - particularly at a youth cup final.

"We are working with the clubs, the government and the football authorities to find real and lasting solutions to this problem.

"Progress has been made but, as your footage shows, much remains to be done."

Celtic Football Club

"The recent sustained level of threats and acts of violence against our manager and others associated with Celtic has been unprecedented in Scottish football. Clearly, this must stop.

"In a modern Scottish society there can be no excuse for threats, acts of violence and other behaviour which glorifies sectarianism. We are sure all right-minded people will condemn these actions.

"We are also aware that a small minority associated with Celtic continue to tarnish the club's name through offensive political chanting at away grounds.

"As a non-political organisation, open to all since its formation in 1888, we stand firmly against this kind of behaviour and will continue to tackle this form of conduct which is unacceptable and has no place in football.

"Given all that has happened this year, prior to the beginning of the new season, Celtic will be seeking to meet all relevant parties within the Scottish game to ensure that we can work together in addressing the issues of offensive behaviour and sectarianism."

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