Page last updated at 20:55 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Banning order over Famine song

Rangers fans
Walls committed the offence during Rangers' away match to Kilmarnock

A Rangers fan has been given two years probation and a football banning order for singing the 'Famine Song'.

William Walls, 20, was found guilty of breach of the peace, aggravated by religious and racial prejudice, at Kilmarnock District Court.

The offence was committed at Rangers' away match at Kilmarnock on 9 November.

Rangers have asked fans to not to sing the song, which refers to events that killed an estimated one million people in Ireland in the 1840s.

Speaking after sentence, Kilmarnock District Procurator Fiscal, Les Brown, said: "The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service takes all instances of racism and bigotry very seriously.

"We will prosecute in court all offences which are aggravated by racial or religious prejudice.

Where any singing, chanting or other behaviour is perceived as being racist or sectarian in nature, we will take positive action
Asst Ch Con John Nielson
Strathclyde Police
"In this case we worked closely with both police officers who were present at Rugby Park and senior officers to ensure that the full extent and impact of the accused's conduct was put before the court.

"The key witnesses in this case were stewards employed by Rangers Football Club who brought Mr Walls' conduct to the attention of the police. I would like to thank them for the fair and frank manner in which they gave their evidence."

Assistant Chief Constable John Nielson, of Strathclyde Police, said: "We work closely with football clubs to eradicate any racist and/or sectarian behaviour in football - it will not be tolerated.

"Where any singing, chanting or other behaviour is perceived as being racist or sectarian in nature, we will take positive action.

"Over recent years, Strathclyde Police has made a significant number of arrests for sectarianism and racist behaviour at football matches and will continue to do so."

A spokesman for Rangers FC said: "Following his conviction, Mr Walls was banned from Ibrox for life.

"We understand from the authorities that his conduct at the Kilmarnock match involved overtly sectarian and racist behaviour including a number of different chants and songs.

"Overall, his behaviour was wholly unacceptable and Rangers Football Club will continue to do everything possible to eradicate such behaviour at matches involving the club."

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