Sectarianism in Scotland

The recent resurgence of sectarianism in Scottish football is overwhelmingly condemned by Scots, according to a poll commissioned by the Scottish Government, and published on 4 September to coincide with the commencement of Scottish parliamentary scrutiny of the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill.

Fieldwork for the study was undertaken by TNS-BMRB between 27 July and 3 August 2011, by means of face-to-face interviews in the home with 1,028 Scots aged 16 and over. Data tables can be found at:

Roughly nine in ten Scots agreed with the four propositions in the survey: 89% that sectarianism is offensive; 89% that it is unacceptable in Scottish football; 91% that stronger action needs to be taken to tackle sectarianism and offensive behaviour associated with football in Scotland; and 85% that sectarianism is a criminal offence. Disagreement on each measure ranged from 3% to 5%, with the balance neutral.

Variations by demographic sub-groups were relatively limited, but there was a definite tendency for endorsement of the propositions to be lowest among those aged 16-24 years. In particular, only 75% of this cohort regarded sectarianism as a criminal offence and 78% as unacceptable in Scottish football. Likewise, agreement with the statements was below par among the DE social group (semi- and unskilled manual workers).

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