Pyrotechnics in Football Stadia

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 6 December 2023.

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Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

7. To ask the Scottish Government what discussions it has had with the Scottish Football Association and the Scottish Professional Football League regarding the recent upsurge in the use of pyrotechnics within football stadia. (S6O-02844)

Photo of Siobhian Brown Siobhian Brown Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has been engaging regularly with the SFA and the SPFL for some time about our shared concerns over the misuse of pyrotechnics in football. Most recently, I met the SPFL, the SFA and the Football Safety Officers’ Association Scotland last week, on 30 November, and we agreed on the need for a multi-agency approach to tackling the issue. I look forward to working with football and other key partners to develop the approach in the coming weeks.

Photo of James Dornan James Dornan Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for that positive response, but is it not the truth that, to date, neither the football authorities nor the police—nor the clubs themselves—have been willing to take the required action to combat the illegal use of these extremely dangerous fireworks? Given the unwillingness to take strong action and the lack of political will within football for the—in my view—long-overdue introduction of some kind of strict liability, will the Scottish Government commit to taking seriously the introduction of a Minister for Football, such as has been introduced for English football by the Westminster Government, to tackle the issue of pyros and the many other antisocial and illegal behaviours regularly seen at Scottish football clubs?

Photo of Siobhian Brown Siobhian Brown Scottish National Party

O ur preferred solution has always been that the football authorities themselves be proactively involved in delivering a robust and lasting solution to tackle any unacceptable conduct by a minority of people. As I said, from my recent discussions with those involved, I know that there is a collective will to tackle it. As I have indicated, we will be taking forward a multi-agency approach to tackling the issue, and I look forward to working with our partners on it. I know that Police Scotland will continue to engage with the SFA and the SPFL with regard to the new fireworks legislation and on-going issues at individual fixtures.