Welcome to the new Scottish Supporters Network newsletter, brought to you by Supporters Direct Scotland. This newsletter aims to bring our members closer together and better informed of news and best practice from across the network.

Supporter Behaviour and Policing

The 2018/19 season has been marred by a succession of incidents of misbehaviour by supporters, with the latest happening at Hibernian's recent matches against Celtic and Rangers at Easter Road. These are not unique to Scotland - two supporters also ran onto the pitch and confronted players in English Premiership games at the weekend - but the frequency of them has brought the media spotlight onto Scottish football.

We were invited to comment on these incidents in TV, radio and newspaper coverage, and like everyone else condemned this behaviour in the strongest terms. While criticism has been unanimous, solutions have been harder to find. We firmly believe that the answer must lie within Scottish football - but that if we fail to get our own house in order it is inevitable that government will step in. There is a risk to the safety of supporters, players and officials, and it is simply unacceptable for the apparent escalation of this behaviour to continue unchecked.

First and foremost, it is individual supporters who are responsible for these acts of violence and disorder, and they must be held to account. It is every supporter's responsibility to call this behaviour out when we witness it, and identify the culprits before we are all punished for the actions of a tiny minority.

Ground regulations are in place at every stadium in Scotland, which clearly set out the standards of behaviour expected of us. The behaviour we have seen recently is clearly prohibited within these regulations, and in many cases is also against the law. While stewarding and policing can always be improved, it is a mark of its effectiveness that the culprits in many of these incidents have been identified and dealt with quickly - but there is still some way to go. The recent independent review of policing, which gathered evidence from supporters amongst many other stakeholders in our game, revealed that the policing of football in Scotland compares well to other European countries, whilst making recommendations to improve the consistency of policing operations. Of more concern was the findings regarding inconsistency in the management of safety certificates for football stadiums.

Every fan deserves to be able to support their team in an environment which is safe, and to enjoy the match without it being interrupted by the misbehaviour of others. We will continue to work with our game's decision makers to ensure there is a comprehensive response to both the issue of supporter behaviour, and to the issues identified in the policing review.

2018/19 Survey Results Released

The results of the first of three surveys to be carried out in the period up to 2020 as part of a partnership with the Scottish FA and SPFL were revealed last week.

There are three things that really matter to fans, which reflect feedback from previous surveys: value for money; fan engagement; supporter experience.

All three organisations involved in the partnership have worked at forging deeper relationships, and a wider programme of engagement with clubs to give Scottish football an opportunity to reflect on the insights that the data delivers. In particular, for the first time our CEO Alan Russell was invited to present the results to SPFL clubs. This followed a presentation last summer to all clubs at their Annual Meeting. 

Results across the board show broad improvements over the last three years around value for money, but worrying trends persist when it comes to discrimination.

Visit www.scottishsupporters.net/survey to read the full results of the survey.

FansBet: Giving Back

Our partners FansBet have launched with 5 new Fan Partners during February; with each looking to support a range of fantastic causes and initiatives, ranging from away travel to improving the matchday experience. We give a warm welcome to the following partners:

Ayr United Travel Club
The Travel Club work in partnership with the football club to get supporters to away games. They will use the money received to support their away travel and make donations to the AU500 Fund which is a fund where supporters contribute to the players wage budget.

Hibernian Supporters Association (known as “Hibs Club”)
Comprising of over 2000 members, the Hibs Club are the main supporters organisation for supporters of Hibernian FC. They will be looking to use funds to support the running costs of the association and their social club in Sunnyside near Easter Road Stadium.

Gresley FC
A fan owned club currently in tier 4 of the English non-league structure. Funds will be going directly on fan causes such as community projects and improving the match day experience for fans.

City Xtra
A Manchester City blog website bringing the latest news, features, statistics, match coverage and fan reaction. Funds will be going towards fan events.

Paul McStay No. 1 CSC St Ninians
A Celtic Supporters Club based in St Ninians, Stirlingshire. They will be using funds generated to support their travel to matches and end of season events.

Head to the Giving Back page to see latest stories generated through partnerships with FansBet - https://blog.fansbet.com/fansbet-giving-back/partners/fan/

If you are a member of a supporters organisation and would like more information on how to join as a Fan Partner, please get in touch with FansBet via email at: loyalty@fansbet.com.

Round Up

As part of our objective to better connect fans, share best practice within Scottish sport, to promote supporter dialogue and promote sport clubs through which positive societal change can occur, here we share some relevant stories from the past month.

  1. Only Fans Truly Love Their Clubs!
  2. Looking At Potential Scotland Call-up John Fleck
  3. Looking At Motherwell’s Wonderful Start To 2019
  4. Forget Plastic Pitches! We Need To Fix Disciplinary System
  5. Why Scotland Should Support Celtic’s European Adventure

If you haven't heard our most recent podcasts, find them here:

  1. Behind the Goals with Justin Walley
  2. Behind the Goals with Kenny Jamieson
  3. Behind the Goals with Brian McClair

Check out all our previous episodes and subscribe to the Behind The Goals podcast using your favoured ‘podcatcher’ here.

We also met Chris Gallagher of the 90 Minute Cynic podcast, website and magazine which covers everything to do with Celtic.

Subscribe to our channel to see more!

Want to have your say? Contact us at info@supporters-direct.scot

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