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Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

SFA vows to tackle 'Famine song'

SFA president George Peat
George Peat said offensive chanting must be stamped out

The Scottish FA is to discuss the 'Famine Song' in a meeting with the Scottish Premier League and police.

SFA president George Peat told BBC Sport he heard a section of the Rangers support sing an offensive song during Saturday's 3-1 win over Hamilton.

The Famine Song refers to events that killed an estimated one million people in the 1840s and led to a mass migration from Ireland.

Peat said there was still "some way to go" to eradicate offensive chanting.

Rangers have asked their fans to refrain from singing the song, which includes the line: "The famine's over, why don't you go home."

The Ibrox club also sought guidance from Strathclyde Police on the matter with a view to making singing the song an arrestable offence.

Listening to it again at the weekend, it would appear that there's still some way to go

SFA president George Peat

Peat said the SFA was determined to help eradicate offensive chanting from SPL grounds.

"At the minute, we've left it in the hands of the SPL to look into things and try to eradicate it," he told BBC Sport.

"We know that clubs have tried hard. Listening to it again at the weekend, it would appear that there's still some way to go.

"Obviously, it's got to be stamped out and we'll be having a meeting soon with the SPL and the police to see what we can do about it."

Last month, the SPL said it was investigating the matter.

"We introduced rules on unacceptable conduct last season, in line with the laws of the land," a spokesman said.

"These have helped drive improvement in behaviour at matches and we will continue to work with clubs to this end.

"Rangers have contacted Strathclyde Police about the 'Famine Song' and we will be in touch with both parties to consider what, if any, action is needed."

Scotland's sports minister, Stewart Maxwell MSP added his views to the debate, re-stating the Scottish Government's view that the problem of sectarianism and bigotry in football needs to be stamped out.

"In the wider sense, we deprecate any forms of bigotry and sectarianism, we take a very strong view that these types of activity are unacceptable in a modern Scotland," said Maxwell.

"We don't to see bigoted songs, we don't want to see sectarianism on the terraces or in the schools or anywhere else for that matter.

"The fact is, this must be stamped out, we take a very strong view to make sure it does and we're very keen to support the footballing authorities, the clubs, and others to make sure that in the future we see no more of this kind of behaviour.

we take a very strong view that these types of activity are unacceptable in a modern Scotland

Stewart Maxwell MSP, Scottish sports minister

Maxwell also said that the problem was improving in Scotland, and asserted that the Scottish Government would prefer to leave matters concerning breaches of the law to the police authorities.

"We have to put it in context - we've seen a huge improvement over the years in terms of the levels of sectarianism and bigotry, much lower now than when I was young," added Maxwell.

"But the fact remains that it's really a matter for the police and the police authorities need to take a decision on how best to control crowds and make sure there are no breaches of the law.

"So I won't be interfering personally in decisions taken by the police officers involved.

"That's a matter for them and they should take the decision based on their best expectations of how to control a crowd."

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see also
Bain responds to 'Famine song'
16 Sep 08 |  Scottish Premier
Concerns raised over famine song
15 Sep 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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