Unacceptable behaviour at matches correspondence with Scottish Professional Football League: FOI appeal

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested


  • A copy of the contract or agreement the Scottish Government made with the SPFL with regards to collecting and reporting on instances of unacceptable conduct at football games ahead of the start of the 2017-18 season.
  • A copy of any earlier drafts of the contract or agreement aforementioned.
  • Any communications between the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Scottish Government officials and the football authorities regarding the contents of the aforementioned contract or agreement or any of its earlier drafts.


You may find it helpful to note that the Scottish Government’s Strategic Football Lead – who manages our relationship with stakeholders in the sector – discussed the issue of unacceptable conduct extensively with the football authorities, following the disorder at the Scottish Cup Final on 21 May 2016. To allow us to gain a better understanding of the true scale of the problem and therefore properly consider what additional measures may be required, we emphasised to the SPFL and the Scottish FA that data on incidents in grounds was required. Following discussions, this data was then collated – drawn from delegates’ reports – from the start of the 2017/18 football season. The information was provided to the Scottish Government for internal use only. While there was no written agreement or contract, the covering letter from the SPFL set a number of strict conditions on how the information could be used and shared.

I have given some further consideration to the covering letter received and have determined that this letter would fall within the scope of your request as it sets out the conditions under which the information was provided. In addition, I have also identified one additional letter which falls within the scope of your request. Having given further consideration to these two documents, I have determined that most of the information can now be disclosed. Copies of the relevant documents accompany this mail as individual attachments.

A small amount of the information remains exempt from disclosure under section 38(1)(b) (personal data) of FOISA. This exemption applies because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

FoI-19-01620 - Information released (a)
FoI-19-01620 - Information released (b)


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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