Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has threatened the continuation of elite sport after thousands of Rangers supporters broke lockdown rules over the weekend to celebrate their first league title win in nine years.
Sturgeon expressed her “anger and despair” towards the Rangers fans for “flagrantly breaching rules that the rest of us are following every day at great personal cost”, while speaking at Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.
Rangers disagree with Sturgeon’s claims that they have lacked leadership on this matter and, in a letter to the First Minister from club chairman Douglas Park on Monday, accused her of a “dereliction of duty” for failing to engage with them on plans for the title celebrations.
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Scotland’s First Minister insists that Rangers “could have done more to avoid this situation” and promised the weekend’s events would not go unpunished.
“The fact is that elite sport is being allowed to continue just now, so that fans, deprived like all of us of so much else in life, can continue to watch and support their teams,” said Sturgeon.
“It would be deeply unfair if a minority spoilt that for the majority. I very much hope that will not be the case.
“But given the fragility of the situation we face right now, we simply cannot turn a blind eye to what happened at the weekend, and we won’t.”
Sturgeon said the government will hold talks with the football authorities as well as “certain football clubs” and report back before the Old Firm match on March 21.
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said he had been “dismayed” to see talk from supporters of both clubs, suggesting they would breach lockdown rules to come out for that fixture.
“Frankly, if football clubs and supporters cannot get their act together then we will have to consider future options are,” he warned, as the government once again threatened the future of elite sport in Scotland.
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