Scottish Government: bigotry laws to include age and gender discrimination

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The Scottish Government’s crackdown on bigotry at football matches will also include measures to combat age and gender discrimination.

The changes are part of the Scottish government’s response to the justice committee report on the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

The government will bring forward an amendment to allow for the extension of the offence to cover additional characteristics including age and gender at a later date, which will enable the issues to be examined following consultation and full consideration of evidence.

The bill and its amendments, currently going through the Scottish Parliament, will include a specific clause guaranteeing freedom of expression.

The legislation would create two new offences relating to behaviour deemed to ”incite religious, racial or other forms of hatred” in and around football grounds and on the internet.

If convicted, offenders could be given a five year prison sentence and be banned from football grounds.

Opposition parties say the legislation has failed to gain the support of the country.

However, community safety minister, Perthshire South and Kinross-shire MSP Roseanna Cunningham, reiterated the Scottish government’s determination to stamp out sectarianism in football.

Ms Cunningham: ”Songs are being sung at football matches in Scotland which have nothing to do with football and everything to do with hatred, violence and bigotry.  It is time to extract the poisonous hatred from Scottish football.”