Nicola Sturgeon condemns mass gathering of Rangers fans as she says club could have done more
Nicola Sturgeon has criticised Rangers FC for ‘not doing nearly enough’ to avoid the ‘disgraceful’ and ‘selfish’ crowds of football fans gathering in Glasgow at the weekend.
Addressing members of parliament today, Nicola Sturgeon announced she does “not care about the colour of the shirt” as she said that football clubs such as Rangers FC “need to show much more leadership” after many Rangers fans took to the streets of Glasgow breaching covid restrictions this weekend.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Let me be clear, in making these comments, I don’t care about the colour of the shirts.
"I said some harsh things about Celtic’s decisions at the start of this year.
"And as far as I am concerned in this case, Rangers Football Club did not do nearly enough to help avoid this situation arising at the weekend.”
"At no point did Rangers unequivocally say to their fans to go home or to stay at home.”
"I’ve had a three-page letter from Rangers and at not point did they say that action was deeply regrettable.”
“We cannot simply turn a blind eye to what happened at the weekend and we won’t.
The First Minister said the Government will report back on the “various discussions” surrounding the weekend’s events in due course ahead of the Old Firm match on March 21.
Condemning the behaviour, Ms Sturgeon commented that she shared the “anger and despair” that the vast majority of people, including football fans, felt at the weekend towards crowds of supporters “flagrantly breaching rules that the rest of us are following every day at great personal cost.”
She added: "The behaviour witnessed at the weekend was disgraceful and selfish.”
Addressing policing, the First Minister commented that it is “natural that some of the anger people feel is directed towards the government and the police” however noted that the fault lies with those who breach the rules.
How the police manage situations like this is, the FM noted, is an “operational matter” and the government cannot and should not direct policing operations.
However, Sturgeon noted that she will be speaking to the Chief Constable later this afternoon to consider what further action might be necessary to avoid any repeat of the “unacceptable scenes” we saw at the weekend.
She added: "No one should doubt the deeply invidious situation that behaviour like this puts the police in as they discharge their responsibility to protect public order and safety.
"We will also be having further discussions this week with the football authorities and with certain football clubs who, in my view, need to show much more leadership."
The First Minister concluded that the “selfish” and “irresponsible” behaviour of a minority should not set the country back in its fight against the pandemic as she added that “we are on the right path.”
" I understand why people watching what unfolded at the weekend might wonder why they are bothering doing the right thing.
"The fact is the vast majority of us are doing the right thing because know it matters - for our own health and the health of our loved ones.
"It is about saving lives. And it is working.
"So, no matter how legitimately angry we feel, let’s not allow the irresponsible behaviour of a minority to set us all back.”