‘Tackling soccer’s sectarian traders’

ALLIANCE Sports Spokesperson Councillor Michael Long has said that lessons can be learned after Glasgow City Council took action over the sale of sectarian material at football grounds. Last Tuesday, the Council’s Licensing Committee decided to ban licensed football memorabilia street traders outside the city’s four football stadia from trading in goods with sectarian, racial, political or religious material from their stalls.

The ban has been enforced after consultation with the three football clubs – Celtic, Partick Thistle and Rangers football clubs and Hampden Park, Strathclyde Police, the Council’s Trading Standards officials and representatives from the city’s street traders.

Mr Long said: “This important move is a further step towards combatting the scourge of sectarian hate throughout Scotland, and there is a valuable lesson for Northern Ireland here too. While the IFA has done much in recent times to reduce sectarianism on the terraces, it still appears to be legal to sell football memorabilia with sectarian content outside a club’s ground.

“Glasgow City Council is sending out an important message to traders that profiteering from sectarianism will not be tolerated. Yet the problem is even greater in Northern Ireland, and not just at football matches. It is not uncommon to see Saturday market traders peddling paramilitary memorabilia quite openly in town centres.

“Clearly the law as it stands is not working, and it is time that we examined how the Scottish have been able to move faster to tackle their sectarian traders.”

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