Police Scotland and Rangers Football Club (Engagement)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th May 2021.

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Photo of Humza Yousaf Humza Yousaf Scottish National Party

James Dornan probably expresses the anger that many citizens of Glasgow and people across the country feel. In fairness to Rangers Football Club, it has engaged for a number of weeks with Police Scotland, the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, and it has released a statement asking its fans and pleading with them to respect the Covid guidelines. I would have liked that messaging to have been stronger and more explicit, but such messaging did come forth.

James Dornan has hit on an important point. As much as people may ask—legitimately, of course—whether Government, the police and the club could have done more, let us not forget that responsibility for the dreadful scenes that we saw lies on the shoulders of the individuals who took part in the disorder. There must be personal responsibility, because those people do not need the Government, the police or a football club to tell them that we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Personal responsibility must be taken. As I said, Police Scotland will follow that up.

On the health impact, I heard Professor Jason Leitch this morning on “Good Morning Scotland” say that, from a clinical perspective, we might, while expressing disappointment about them, never know whether mass gatherings by Rangers fans in Glasgow were superspreader events. We will need to see how the data looks in the coming weeks.

On James Dornan’s points about anti-Catholic and anti-Irish bigotry, I say that it is disgusting and disgraceful and I have zero tolerance for it. I do not for a second doubt that the matter will be part of the investigations that Police Scotland has committed to in following it up. Every one of us has a responsibility to call it out and to call it what it is.