Policy actions  2 of 2

Working with football organisations

We work closely with football authorities, clubs and supporters' organisations to support and invest in the development of the game.

Supporter involvement in Scottish football clubs

Working Group recommendations

In 2014 we set up the short-life Working Group on Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs to identify, consider and provide recommendations on ways in which supporters could be more involved in the governance, financing and operation of professional football clubs in Scotland.

Some of the recommendations from the Working Group on Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs' final report, published in January 2015, are now being implemented.


The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 was followed by a government consultation on options to strengthen supporters' involvement in football clubs.

We ran a consultation from September 2015 to January 2016 to seek views on how to ensure that fans can have a greater say in the running of their clubs, or in certain circumstances, the ownership of them. This resulted in the following:

We are considering the options.

Youth football: protecting children and young people's wellbeing

The Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee has been considering concerns about how children and young people involved in youth football are treated.

We are working with the Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Scotland and the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland to address these issues.

Progress made so far includes:

  • the Scottish FA appointing its first Safeguarding Manager, whose role is to promote a fun, inclusive and safe environment for children in football
  • the Scottish FA asking children, young people and children's organisations for their views
  • enabling clubs that sign players through the Club Academy Scotland (CAS) scheme to offer contracts for one year instead of three
  • proposing new rules that will allow CAS players to leave CAS after giving 28 days' notice
  • lifting restrictions preventing CAS footballers from playing for their school teams

We are monitoring these new measures and have offered to discuss how we can ensure that children's rights are respected with the Public Petitions Committee, Children and Young People's Commissioner and other organisations with an interest.

Behaviour at football matches

Although the overwhelming majority of supporters are a credit to football, a minority behave inappropriately.

This kind of behaviour, which can include songs, banners, pyrotechnics or pitch invasions, has no place in football.

Although there are measures in place to deal with criminal behaviour, we still need football to do everything it can to prevent and manage unacceptable conduct.

Following the Scottish Cup Final in May 2016, we are working closely with the football authorities and clubs to ensure football develops robust measures to address unacceptable conduct by spectators.

Alcohol controls

The controls over carrying and consuming alcohol – first introduced in 1980 – are set out in Part II of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995. Section 18 of the 1995 Act empowers Scottish Ministers to designate which sporting events and grounds are subject to alcohol controls.

As a result, FIFA, UEFA and Scottish association professional football matches played at the grounds of clubs in the Scottish Premier Football League, Lowland League, Highland League and at Murrayfield are subject to alcohol controls.

The controls do not apply to non-designated events at designated grounds, so alcohol is permitted at events like concerts, American football or rugby matches.

The existing controls mean it is an offence to:

  • be in possession of alcohol or a controlled container in a designated ground for designated events, or attempt to take alcohol into a designated ground for a designated event
  • attempt to enter while drunk, or be drunk in, a designated ground for a designated event
  • carry or consume alcohol on a coach or train specifically hired for the carrying for supporters to a designated event at a designated ground
  • drink in corporate areas overlooking the field of play (two hours before the start and ending one hour after the end of a designated sporting event) unless the blinds are closed or curtains drawn. It does allow, subject to a licence being granted, drinking in hospitality areas in the grounds of the stadium and in the stadium car parks.

Using football for social development

All 42 SPFL clubs – and many others at all levels of the game – are, through Foundations or Trusts, involved in some form of community work aimed at strengthening their communities and improving local people's wellbeing.

The SPFL Trust co-ordinates much of this work, including the Football Fans in Training programme that we support financially.

Scotland has a number of representatives on the European Football for Development Network, which uses football as a tool for social development.

Below the SPFL, clubs at all levels including the Lowland League, Highland League and our Junior and amateur clubs are making contributions to their communities in a variety of ways including:

  • supporting local charities
  • working with vulnerable groups
  • organising activities for children and young people

We have been working closely with the Scottish FA and European football governing body UEFA to measure the economic impact football participation has in Scotland. The report about benefits to society from participation in grassroots football was published in October 2018.

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