THE controversial law aimed at stamping out sectarianism around football games is set to be abolished, after every opposition party yesterday backed its repeal.

The Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act 2012 (OBFA) now looks likely to be an early casualty of the SNP losing its overall majority at Holyrood.

Read more: Rangers fans cleared as sheriff criticises ‘flawed’ sectarianism law​

Keen to flex their muscles as the main opposition, the Conservatives said they would ensure parliamentary time was dedicated to the issue in coming weeks and would back legislation to scrap the “unfair and unworkable” law.

Labour MSP James Kelly, who announced plans for a Member’s Bill to repeal the OBFA in January, confirmed he would move to secure the Act’s removal from the statute book.

HeraldScotland: James Kelly MSP

The LibDems and Greens, who stood on manifestos backing repeal, supported the plans.

It leaves the SNP out-numbered 65-63 on the issue at Holyrood.

Some SNP MSPs are also sceptical of the law, including Richard Lyle, who last year said it was “too wide sweeping in approach and doesn’t work in practice as well as it should or could”.

The OBFA was created after a spate of violent incidents in the 2010-11 football season, including 35 arrests and a clash between club managers at an Old Firm game.

Read more: Brian McConnachie QC: Where is the justice in this unfair, unnecessary and unworkable Offensive Behaviour Act?

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was targeted with parcel bombs and live bullets in the mail, and lunged at by a Hearts fan at Tynecastle.

The SNP rapidly pushed the OBFA through parliament, creating new offences around inciting religious hatred and offensive chanting associated with football.

HeraldScotland: 11/05/11 CLYDESDALE BANK PREMIER LEAGUE
HEARTS v CELTIC (0-3)
TYNECASTLE - EDINBURGH
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has every right to react furiously after an idiotic Hearts fan (grounded) was able to strike him after leaping from the stand

Only the SNP voted for it in December 2011 - it was opposed by all other parties, who complained the legislation was “railroaded” using the SNP’s then majority.

Football fans claim the law unfairly singles them out for blame and punishment.

Earlier this year it emerged there were only 79 convictions in 2014/15 under the legislation, and even the government admitted conviction rates were “very small”.

Read more: Two fans banned from Scots football stadium after offensive behaviour at football convictions

Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said: “Having prevented the SNP from gaining an overall majority, we can now use the powers of the parliament to scrap some of the bad laws they passed in the last one. There are proposals to bring forward legislation to scrap the OBFA. We believe there is a majority in the new parliament to end this absurd law."

Kelly said: “The place to tackle sectarianism is in our classrooms and communities. Instead, the SNP passed a law based on chasing headlines rather than finding solutions.

“Labour will work with other parties in the Scottish Parliament to repeal the OBFA. The law has become a symbol of the SNP's arrogance in government.”

A LibDem spokesman said: "The Act was pushed through when the SNP had a bulldozer majority. Now they have lost seats they have to listen to other voices. After repeal the Scottish Government should instead take forward the recommendations of the Independent Advisory Group on Tackling Sectarianism."

A Scottish Green spokesman added: “Such efforts have our support.”

Dr Stuart Waiton, senior sociology lecturer at Abertay University and author of Snob’s Law, a book on the OBFA, told the Sunday Herald it was “arguably the most authoritarian piece of legislation in modern times in Britain. That you can go to prison for five years for being offensive at a football match is insane.”

However he is sceptical there will be real change. "It certainly seems that opposition politicians are prepared to be opportunistic and oppose the law now. The main problem is that no politician is prepared to oppose all the laws that mean fans can be arrested for singing offensive songs and that's what we need, a revitalisation of basic liberal principles of freedom of speech. Unfortunately things are going the other way and we are seeing more and more people claiming 'offence' and more police time spent chasing people who are guilty of nothing more than speech crimes. I'm not holding my breath."

An SNP spokeman said: "This legislation is about taking firm action against sectarianism and other offensive behaviour, and it speaks volumes about Labour's priorities that they see teaming up with the Tories to try and scrap such laws as the most important issue facing Scotland. Opinion polls show this measure is widely supported by people across Scotland, and the public will take a dim view of the opposition using this for political games."