Following a number of incidents of sectarian abuse last season, mostly involving Rangers and Celtic but with a particularly serious incident involving Hearts, The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond set up meetings which have eventually resulted in an Anti-Sectarianism Bill being passed by the Scottish Parliament.

Unfortunately sectarianism is a special problem, especially in the West of Scotland.

The 1849 Irish Potato Famine and the industrial revolution brought major waves of catholic immigrants from Ireland to the west of Scotland while the shipyards on Clydeside attracted more Irish labour in the First World War.

There also are strong historical links between some protestant groups in the west of Scotland and the unionist groups in Northern Ireland.

The historical background manifests itself today in the intense rivalry between Rangers – the team supported by most protestants – and Celtic – the team supported by most catholics.

Scottish Premier League officials will liaise with the match delegates and the police after each game to discuss any problem of chanting or sectarian abuse.

The match delegates will also be asked to focus more on matters off the field in the coming season and referees will be expected to report any sectarian comments or singing.

In all forty action points were recommended earlier this month after numerous meetings chaired by Scotland’s First Minister.

Other recommendations included a new national football policing unit, greater use of football banning orders and a single code of conduct for managers, players and fans.

Mr Salmond said he was determined to tackle the problem head on, insisting that if the events of last season were to be repeated it would be “a disaster for our national game.”

But football is not the cause of sectarianism. It is only a vehicle which bigots on both sides use to express their intolerance.

Politicians, also, use football as a high profile means of gaining publicity. Many are not particular well informed about football but they realise the publicity football can generate.

I have a great deal of sympathy for Rangers and Celtic in this respect since one man’s sectarian chant is another man’s protest or traditional song.

If the football authorities really want to take a strong line, however, they should deduct points from teams where there are continued examples of sectarianism – basically Rangers and Celtic.

It will be unfair on the clubs, but maybe the silent majority will be prepared to open their eyes, listen to the comments and speak out against the bigots who do no good to Scottish football.

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