THE Scottish Government has confirmed it is looking at all options, including sweeping new council licensing powers for stadiums, to help stamp out sectarianism around football.

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said “nothing is off the table”, including legislation to make clubs strictly liable for fans’ behaviour.

It follows a wave of incidents at recent games, including coin-throwing, Rangers fans calling Kilmarnock boss Steven Clarke a “fenian b******” and abuse directed at former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers after he quit for Leicester.

Police Scotland’s new deputy chief constable Will Kerr, who spent almost 30 years in Northern Ireland, last week said he was shocked at the “consistently thuggish behaviour”.

The Sunday Times reported SNP ministers are considering tougher licensing powers for councils in a bid to improve public safety at games.

Possible sanctions include ground closures and forcing home games to be played away. A more extreme, and legally difficult, option would be strict liability for clubs, where sanctions could also involve fines, annulment of results, playing matches behind closed doors and docking points.

It is understood any changes will take many months or years.

Mr Yousaf, a Glasgow MSP, said: “When it comes to tackling unacceptable conduct at football, governing bodies and individual clubs must take serious measures to tackle this unacceptable behaviour.

“However, it would be foolish not to consider what additional action could be taken and we will continue to consider the full range of options.

“I will listen to ideas from across the Parliamentary Chamber, be it strict liability or exploring what can be done within current licensing laws, nothing is off the table.‎”

Labour MSP James Kelly, who led the cross-party repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, said: “There is a challenge to the clubs and football authorities to come forward with constructive proposals to ensure responsible behaviour. Previously I have not endorsed strict liability or licensing. However if the clubs and authorities do not engage positively I would need to consider these approaches.”

The Scottish Government said it regarded “the vast majority of football supporters” as well-behaved, but that there remained a problem Ministers were determined to tackle.

It said it would continue to work with Scotland’s football clubs and authorities, Police Scotland, and other partners “to determine what further action could be taken” and that Ministers have made clear that they will consider a full range of options.