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ALL of Scotland's Euro 2016 and World Cup qualifiers between 2014 and 2018 will be shown live on Sky, with highlights on STV, as part of a broadcasting deal worth almost £55 million to the SFA.

Flares or smoke bombs are among the problems the SFA's new strict liability rules would tacklePhotograph: SNS
Flares or smoke bombs are among the problems the SFA's new strict liability rules would tacklePhotograph: SNS

With rights for friendlies and Scottish Cup ties still to be sold over that four-year period, the SFA are certain to take in more money from television than the £53 million generated for the four-year period to 2014.

The SFA negotiated their own deal through IMG for those years, but the new deal has been struck with Uefa as part of the European governing body's decision to take control of selling broadcasting rights for all competitive internationals featuring their 54 member associations. It was in 2011 that Uefa announced their plan to copy the pooling system used for the Champions League and Europa League, with Scotland's share of the pot based on the size of its television market.

"It's fantastic news for Scottish football and the Scottish FA that we now have confirmation that our centralised TV deal has been done," said SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. "The rights have been sold to Sky for live matches and ITV for highlights for the period 2014 to 2018. That gives us the platform to start thinking about our strategy from 2014 because we have got the same income, minimum, that we have had from 2010 to 2014.

"The Scottish FA television deal is a very good one. We have a bigger TV deal than Russia, for example.

"That was negotiated when the market was quite high and we have deliberately held the line to get the same value for 2014 to 2018. We have done that and in addition we will be selling the Scottish Cup and other friendly matches separately, so there's another opportunity to make some additional income for the game as well.

"We're working really hard to put those things in place and hopefully it gives us a chance to invest. It's great news for us from a stability point of view."

BBC Scotland will have no live coverage or highlights of Scotland games after 2014 unless the corporation successfully bids to cover some individual friendlies. The SFA have been trying hard to persuade the English FA to agree to a one-off reciprocal friendly after the auld enemies meet at Wembley on August 14, but so far there has been no agreement on a lucrative return fixture at Hampden.

The SFA hold their annual general meeting on Tuesday and the 93 members will be asked to agree the creation of the Scottish Lowland Football League as part of wider efforts to introduce a pyramid structure for the national game.

The Lowland League would be the southern equivalent of the Highland League and the champions of each division would play off at the end of each campaign, with the winners of that tie playing off against the team who had finished bottom of the Third Division in order to claim the 42nd place in the Scottish League.

Any team that drops out of the Third Division would play in either the Highland or Lowland league the following season, with the geographical boundary of the two divisions altered a little each year depending on the locality of the "relegated" club.

The Lowland League – which could even be in place next season – will have at least 10 clubs but no more than 16, all plucked from the East of Scotland League, the South of Scotland League and the junior ranks. Already 23 clubs have expressed an interest in being involved, and 15 have given a firmer commitment. A working party has already met and formed the league's rules and constitution.

Meanwhile, Regan, president Campbell Ogilvie and first vice-president Alan McRae attended the Fifa congress in Mauritius at the end of May and signed the SFA up to a "strict liability" agreement on tackling racism, unanimously supported by all countries. In other words, if a country's supporters are guilty of racism there will be punishment regardless of the national association's work on addressing the issue.

The SFA want to introduce a similar disciplinary procedure for offensive behaviour throughout Scottish football and it will be put to the vote at the AGM. That would mean that clubs which have issues with sectarian or offensive chanting, the release of flares or smoke bombs, or any other offensive behaviour, would no longer escape punishment by insisting that they had taken all practical steps to eradicate the problem.

The SFA's hope is that the likelihood of real punishments would force clubs to stress to their fans that bad behaviour will have real consequences for their club. That could mean a warning, a fine, or having to play a game behind closed doors for a first offence, and points deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation for repeat offences or serious incidents.

"We do have issues we need to address," said Regan. "At the moment we have rules where clubs are allowed to defend a case based on having taken all reasonably practicable steps in order to make sure there's no unacceptable conduct. The Scottish FA haven't had one prosecution against those rules.

"On the one hand you could say that the clubs are doing a fantastic job and doing everything they possibly can. But on the other you could say the rules aren't powerful enough or strong enough to stamp things out. If you take things like sectarian chanting, the use of flares and offensive banners, is it getting better or are we seeing it carry on pretty much as it always has done?

"We know strict liability works because if a club doesn't take action they'll get fined again and punished again. If it happens once, what tends to happen is the club do something about it. They'll speak to their supporters' clubs and fans and say: 'If we have a similar instance it could be a major problem for the club, therefore please be more responsible, please take action.'"

There remains, however, major scepticism over whether the resolution will get the 75% support it needs, because it would need clubs to voluntarily sign up to a protocol that would significantly increase their risk of serious punishment.

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