SPL Statement: Rule Changes

Monday 19th December 2011
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At today’s SPL General Meeting, clubs approved changes to SPL rules on safe standing and Unacceptable Conduct.

The SPL Board will now have the ability to approve requests from clubs to pilot safe standing areas for use in Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches.

The amendments to the existing Unacceptable Conduct rules were put forward following discussions within the Joint Action Group and are part of football’s commitment to protect and maintain the good reputation of the game in Scotland.

The definition of “Unacceptable Conduct” within the SPL Rules has been extended to include ‘using words, conduct or displaying any writing or other thing which indicates support for, or affiliation to, or celebration of, or opposition to an organisation proscribed in terms of  the Terrorism Act 2000’.

A number of amendments to the accompanying guidance notes which set out the minimum standards expected of SPL clubs in relation to tackling Unacceptable Conduct will also be introduced.

Where a charge is to be laid that a club has not met the requirements of the Unacceptable Conduct rules, the case will be heard by an Independent Commission.

Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL, said: “Since I joined the SPL in 2009, there has been widespread support amongst fans to re-introduce safe standing areas. I am delighted that we have been able to respond positively to supporters’ views on improving the match day experience.

“Changes to our rules on Unacceptable Conduct ‘raise the bar’ in terms of what is expected of clubs and shows our clubs are committed to playing their part in tackling Unacceptable Conduct.”

Further information

Safe Standing

Approval for safe standing areas will also be required from local Safety Committees and the Police.

Unacceptable Conduct

The amendments to the accompanying guidance notes will place requirements on SPL clubs to: 

– Bring Unacceptable Conduct to the attention of the Match Commander;

– Take reasonably practical steps, including consultation with police, to identify those who engage in Unacceptable Conduct;

– Once identified, to apply proportionate sanctions against a supporter, or person exercising function for a club (other than as an official or an employee) who engages in Unacceptable Conduct;

– Include requirements in all SPL clubs’ match ticket conditions, season ticket conditions and in Ground Regulations that supporters must adhere to a Fans Charter/Code of Conduct (once finalised);

– submit interim and annual reports to the SPL Secretary detailing actions taken to prevent Unacceptable Conduct by supporters and what steps have been taken to address Unacceptable Conduct that does occur;

– Maintain records of requests for police assistance, and or police interventions in relation to incidents of Unacceptable Conduct and the responses given. 

Any Independent Commission will be chaired by an advocate or solicitor of at least ten years' standing.

Should a club be found to have failed to meet the requirements of the Unacceptable Conduct rules, the Independent Commission will have the power to apply a wide range of sanctions, including warnings, fines, annulment of results, points deductions, prohibitions from supporters attending matches and playing of matches behind closed doors or at other venues, amongst others. 

Click here to find out more on current SPL rules.

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