Criminalizing songs and symbols in Scottish football: how anti-sectarian legislation has created a new ‘sectarian’ divide in Scotland

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    Since the 1990s, the regulation of football fans has increasingly shifted from the policing of actions to the policing of words. With this in mind, this article looks at the impact of the anti-sectarian ‘industry’ in Scotland. In particular, it looks at the impact that legislation in Scotland, that criminalized football fans’ songs and chants, has had on Glasgow Celtic, and especially Glasgow Rangers, supporters. The article is based on participatory action research with football supporters in Glasgow who were opposing the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill, in 2011. Through this work, two issues became necessary to address; firstly, the impact of the anti-sectarian ‘industry’ in Scotland, which has grown precisely at a time when sectarianism appears to be declining, and secondly, the emergence of a new tension, divide or form of intolerance, which is developing amongst fans (particularly Glasgow Rangers fans), that has been created by this anti-sectarian industry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-184
    Number of pages16
    JournalSoccer & Society
    Issue number2
    Early online date21 Jan 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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