LGBT groups say scrapping legislation that outlaws offensive behaviour at football matches would send a negative message to the community.

MSPs have been hearing evidence about the impact of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act.

The government is reviewing the controversial law after a bid was launched to repeal it.

A survey of children found more than a quarter had experienced offensive behaviour at football matches.

Colin Macfarlane, from Stonewall Scotland, agreed there were “implementation issues” with the act, and said it was time for it to be reviewed – but said repeal would “send a very negative signal to LGBT people”.

He said: “Our view is that it sends a very clear message, that offensive behaviour at football is not acceptable. LGBT people tell us that that’s one area of sport where they don’t feel safe or secure – whether that’s from chanting or singing or comments that are made on the stands.

“Our view is that repealing the act without other measures in place could undermine work that’s been done to increase LGBT people’s confidence not only in reporting hate crime but also in attending sporting events like football.

“Nothing should happen until the hate crime review has reported back.”

#EqNews #LGBT #Football
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