'No appetite' for strict liability in Scotland, says Hamilton's Les Gray

A police horse at Hampden Park
There was trouble at the Scottish Cup final last season

Hamilton Accies chairman Les Gray thinks there is little chance of Scottish clubs accepting "strict liability" for their fans' behaviour.

The Scottish government this week warned that it could step in to force football authorities to take action.

It followed the failure of disciplinary action over disorder at last season's Scottish Cup final.

"I have not spoken to anyone in any clubs who have any appetite for it," Gray told BBC Scotland.

"We have raised the bar in terms of our league rules should fans misbehave, so I'm not sure if government interference is the way forward and I don't think it can be enforced.

"I am not sure that punishing a club like Hamilton Academical for a fan who throws a punch at a Motherwell fan is the way forward."

More than 70 people have been arrested over the violent scenes that took place after Hibernian lifted the cup for the first time since 1902 with a 3-2 victory over Rangers.

But the SFA panel dismissed as "irrelevant" charges over damage to advertising equipment and, in the case of Hibs, the Hampden pitch and goalposts, following a pitch invasion.

Hamilton Academical chairman Les Gray
Les Gray does thinks strict liability is causing problems for Europe's governing body

Neither club was punished because the SFA's disciplinary procedures are not underlined by "strict liability" - where clubs are responsible for their supporters' behaviour.

European governing body Uefa imposes greater responsibility for fan behaviour on clubs in European competition and this week Celtic and Legia Warsaw were among clubs disciplined.

"I think the government have been on our case about this - and particular the board of the Scottish Professional Football League and the board of the Scottish FA," added Gray.

"There's been some issues in Europe regarding this and strict liability hasn't worked where it has been applied and Uefa are getting into all sorts of bother because of this and our league does not see this as the way forward," said Gray.

"If a fan was to misbehave here at New Douglas Park, we see that as a criminal act punishable by law and we pay the police to come and police that, so for us it is nice and simple and I think most clubs will think like that.

"There are a few of the bigger clubs who have different issues and they have more problems than small clubs like mine and they have to deal with it in different ways and police it in a different manner.

"I can't see how strict liability would work for 35-37 clubs out of 42 clubs in this country."

Top Stories