Scottish publicans have asked the Government to define what qualifies as football-related bigotry under the Offensive Behaviour Act.
The Scottish Beer and Pub Association said: "We need concrete examples and scenarios which we know would present problems to the police, what they consider could be happening in pubs and which shouldn't be. You're talking songs and slogans and perhaps lists of what's in or out. During the passage of the Bill it wasn't in the slightest bit clear what the practical implementations would be."
The SBPA seeks clarification as to what is expected of licensed premises as Scotland strives to eradicate sectarianism. Some pub owners may just want to know what kind of behaviour their customers can get away with.
We must assume the issue here is mainly about how the followers of Celtic and Rangers conduct themselves and does not concern the fans of Partick Thistle or Stenhousemuir.
I can think of a few obvious hints for publicans. Try to dissuade customers from running out of the premises to attack fans of the other persuasion and then coming back to finish their pint. In fact, don't serve these kind of people at all.
Ban that dice game forced upon any unfortunate from the other side of the divide who enters the bar by mistake. The game where the visitor gets a punch in the face for anything other than a six. Getting a six qualifies you for another throw.
Other little touches might encourage ecumenicism. The pub owner should endeavour to have amidst the 3000 tunes in the jukebox a few which do not relate to armed conflict in Ireland. Decor-wise, maybe try a colour scheme which is not exclusively green and white hoops or red, white and blue with black stockings.
The police football co-ordination unit and the courts will have to negotiate a minefield in determining what is banter and what is bigotry.
The root of the problem is the existence of so many Celtic pubs and Rangers pubs.
It will not be legislation or police intervention that changes this ridiculous division in the business of going out for a social drink. It's up to customers to boycott the bigot bars and frequent premises where people can feel safe and welcome regardless of any football affiliation.
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