Report: SFA and SPFL to introduce new crowd sanctions after Celtic and Rangers incidents

By David Walton

March 12, 2019

Crunch talks reportedly happened yesterday as the SFA and SPFL look to tackle crowd trouble.

According to the BBC, the Scottish football organisations are set to introduce new measures. This comes after a spat of recent incidents involving Celtic and Rangers players having altercations with supporters.

A mindless fan threw a glass bottle at Scott Sinclair just over a week ago. Then, on Friday night, a Hibernian fan ran on to the pitch to confront Rangers’ James Tavernier.

Scott Sinclair was targeted by a Hibernian supporter over a week ago (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

It hasn’t just been happening up in Scotland either. Jack Grealish was punched from behind by a Birmingham City supporter in the Midlands derby down south.

This season, it feels as though there’s been an epidemic of poor fan behaviour. And Scottish football finally looks set to act on it.

The new measures are apparently set to be introduced this week. According to the BBC, SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell and SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster met yesterday to discuss the issue. Aspects such as a points deduction and partial stadium closures, however, don’t look set to be introduced.

New measures don’t seem too tough

From the report, it doesn’t look as though the new measures are going to get too tough on crowd trouble. There seems to be an understanding from the Scottish football chiefs that clubs can only do so much.

The BBC believe that one of the measures being discussed is giving clubs the power to ban supporters from attending all stadiums. But it remains to be seen whether that would be enough to put a halt to crowd violence.

Neil Doncaster and Ian Maxwell have apparently met to discuss crowd trouble (Jeff Holmes/Getty Images)

At the same time, the SFA/SPFL have to be wary of criminalising the average fan. Only a very small minority are up to the kind of nonsense we’ve seen over the last few weeks. This could be a reason why the organisations aren’t too keen to get overly-tough on the matter just yet.

The results of the reported talks between Maxwell and Doncaster haven’t yet been revealed. Here’s hoping some more light can be shed on this before the end of the week.