Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Following the introduction of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Threatening Behaviour Act, the member organisations of FAC (CSA, Green Brigade, ARCSC, and AICSC, Celtic Trust) agreed that the role of the organisation would be to collect data for use when the Act is reviewed in 2014 and to operate the Legal Defence Fund to assist anyone unfairly charged under the Act.  However, recent events surrounding the policing of Celtic fans – especially at away games – and the concerns that these have given rise to, led to a meeting of FAC being convened last night (Monday 26/11/12) where we were joined by a representative of an Irish cultural organisation.

Recent  cases of fans being charged for really ridiculous reasons; the heavy policing and searching of supporters’ buses and blanket searching of fans (in grounds where this is a departure from normal practice) on the instructions of the Match Commander (based on ‘intel’ from Strathclyde Police); statements from police officers which indicate a concerted focus on Celtic fans and other worrying developments were discussed.

It was agreed that as a first step we need to inform fans of their rights.  We are aware of a number of cases of fans pleading guilty, having been given no proper legal advice, just to save themselves the hassle of repeated appearances (often at courts some distance away).  We will be producing cards which will give details of your basic rights which will be distributed through the organisations and also at away games.
We need to step up the message that we are calling on all fans who have been charged under the Offensive Behaviour Act to contact us to a) give us all the details for our database so we can fight this Act in 2014 and try to get it off the statute books and b) get advice and assistance where required.

We will be producing a template form which you can fill in and that will be downloadable from all the sites of the organisations involved; any other Celtic site which wants a copy to put on their site just contact the celtictrust@hotmail.com or FAC on fansagainstcriminalisation@gmail.com .

Those of you who prefer not to go online can contact us by giving your contact details to the Cairde na h’Eireann shop in the Gallowgate which is opened at weekends or to the GB stall in the foyer of the Celtic Club in London Road on match days.

We have some other longer-term plans which will go on in the background in preparation for the review of the Act.  However, in the meantime we call on all supporters to get the message out: 
If you have been charged under the Act please let us know and let us help you where we can.

Monday, 23 April 2012

News piece

Thomas Rannachan, is a 35 year old Trust member who is standing as an Independent candidate in the upcoming local elections on Thursday May 3rd 2012.

As an Independent, he isn’t tied down by party politics nor does he have a political agenda to pursue either. Instead, he is standing on one particular issue, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 which came into force in March. A Bill forced through by the SNP when there wasn’t a need for such legislation as everything it covers, was already in force in Scots law anyway.

Instead, Thomas believes this to be a blatant attack on freedom of speech which simply shouldn’t be allowed in a democratic society. He goes further to say that be he feels this to be an attack primarily centred against Celtic and Rangers fans. His campaign is to highlight the injustices of this Bill and the cloak and dagger approach adopted by the authorities.

An experienced civil servant with a wealth of experience of youth work behind him, it’s the younger football fans he is worried for and believes that they will be the ones most likely to be caught up by this Bill and wrongly punished. If elected, Thomas hopes to be a voice of reason and open up a dialogue with the Police to get more transparency on this Bill and their approach to enforcing it. And, to also take up anyone’s case who should fall foul of the Bill to offer support and fight for fairness in the ensuing process.

Thomas is standing in Ward 9 which covers parts of Dennistoun, Calton, Camlachie, Bridgeton and Parkhead. Voting is Thursday May 3rd and he is even willing to concede that many will already know which party they are voting for, so is happy to accept a second preference vote instead to give him a fighting chance.