What is Action on Sectarianism?

YouthLink Scotland, the National Agency for Youth Work has set up the first independent public website designed to challenge sectarianism in Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government.

What is in the website?

Accessible on computers, tablets and mobile phones, this website will act as a central gateway to information and resources tackle sectarianism in Scotland by providing tailored user access to four distinct target groups:

1. Children
2. Young people
3. Adults: parents, carers, community groups.
4. AoS Network: teachers, youth workers, academics, policy officers, community activists.

What will it achieve?

The aim of the website is to provide 'information that inspires action' in local communities across Scotland by sharing stories of those affected sectarianism and showcasing the work and resources that are able to address it.

Who's it for?

The website is for everyone, including:
Children, young people and adults in local communities, as well as; Community Groups, Local Authorities, Youth Work projects, Schools, Businesses, Government Agencies and Academics.

What's it like?

Action on Sectarianism looks and feels the same on multiple platforms; computers; tablets and mobile phones. It acts as a one-stop-shop to the best resources, marketing and educational initiatives from across Scotland and includes; Three unique public channels for children, young people and adults with music, videos, stories, practical guides, parental advice and an interactive zone, designed to get folk thinking differently about the issue and sharing their perspectives. The AoS Network, a dedicated secure channel where practitioners and activists can share their work and research and look at innovative ways of communicating this to the public.

Who else is involved?

The Scottish Government has initiated and funded a number of innovative projects and educational resources to support sectarianism over the last few years, including ‘Beyond a Culture of Two Halves.’ In 2012 an independent advisory group was set up, chaired by Dr Duncan Morrow, to inform policy on sectarianism. There are a number of communities and organizations across Scotland currently working together to tackle sectarianism, and the Scottish Government is funding a range of approaches with £9m investment over three years. 

The swift legislative response and investment in local community projects demonstrates the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackle the issue but there is now a need to effect long-term cultural change and that requires a wider, longer term approach. Youth Link Scotland has worked with a range of partner organizations, agencies, communities and individuals to generate content for the website and will continue to work in partnership to achieve the ultimate goal of a Scotland free from sectarianism.

Want to get involved?

The design of the website as an open source platform allows for easy access and editing of their website with this option being open to anyone in the Action on Sectarianism (AoS) Network. Youth Link Scotland has offered training for administrators and editors of the website and will continue to offer this option so that the website stays fresh and is open to all.

Young People

Children and Young people


Parents, carers, community groups

Organisations taking action

Bridging the Gap

Nil by Mouth

North Kelvin Sports Development Group


Sense Over Sectarianism

The Fair Play Foundation

West of Scotland Regional Equality Council (WSREC)

Youth Scotland

Get Involved

Get support for sectarianism

If you have experienced or witnessed any form of sectarianism you can get information on the support available in the guidance sections of the young people and adults pages. If you need to report a hate crime you can do so by contacting Police Scotland or through a Third Party Reporting Centre. More information on this is available in our Guidance pages.

Tel 0131 313 2488 Email aos@youthlinkscotland.org

Do something in your community

If you want to take action and do something to tackle sectarianism in your community you can find out how others have been successful in our Directory and Library pages. There is lots of information there to use as inspiration. If you are doing something, tell us about it and we will feature your good news and events on the website and through our social media channels. Also get in touch if you need support or guidance.

Tel 0131 313 2488 Email aos@youthlinkscotland.org

Have resources to upload?

Have you created an amazing resource that helps to tackle sectarianism in your community? Then why not share it with us and let others access it and learn from your good practice. To submit a resource, event or news article email or call us at the details below.

Tel 0131 313 2488 Email aos@youthlinkscotland.org

Tuesday, February 26th 2019

Are we living in the dark ages?

Sectarianism has been referred to as “Scottish football's dirty secret'. In the last week that secret was been hung out for all to see in the form of the unacceptable behaviour of Scottish football fans towards Kilmarnock’s’ Steve Clarke and Kris Boyd.

Steve Clarke, the manager of Kilmarnock Football Club, says he was subjected to sectarian abuse during his side's Scottish Cup fifth-round replay against Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday and accused some fans of living in the "dark ages".

"To call me a Fenian b******, where are we living? The dark ages?"


Rangers responded following Kilmarnock managers Clarke's complaints of abuse from fans:

 "Everything possible will continue to be done to eradicate this kind of behaviour. We don't support any sort of unacceptable behaviour from the terraces and that is the way it will always be at Rangers.”


Clarke in a later interview said:

 "Everybody needs to take some responsibility and work together. It won't change overnight, but the fact that it's back in the headlines is sad in one way, but it's positive in another."


On Sunday Kris Boyd was struck by coin in the Kilmarnock vs Celtic game and subjected to alleged sectarian abuse.

Kris Boyd told a sport media provider in a post-match interview;

"Oh, and in case anyone didn't know, I'm just a fat orange b******* “


Celtic said in their statement:

“Clearly if anyone is identified, we will take the appropriate action.”


Police Scotland confirmed that an investigation is under way "following a number of reported incidents" at Rugby Park and that officers will be reviewing CCTV footage.


Scottish football is accused of not doing enough to tackle sectarianism, according to many media outlets last week. Many match delegates have spoken out saying that their reporting of the issues has been ignored and no action is be taken.

It seems like the Scottish Professional Football League is content to sweep the issue under the carpet.

"The SPFL condemns any incident of unacceptable conduct and our collaboration with the Scottish Government and Police Scotland demonstrates the SPFL's ongoing efforts to work with key stakeholders and help Scottish football address effectively any instances of unacceptable conduct at SPFL matches identified and reported by SPFL match delegates and Police Scotland."

Former Scotland midfielder Michael Stewart on BBC Sportscene:

"This is a great country we have got here but we have got a cancer and we need to stamp it out."

Dave Scott, Campaign Director for anti-sectarian charity Nil by Mouth on Radio Scotland:

"It is difficult to combat if you don't throw a punch. Scottish football has failed for generations to tackle sectarian abuse”

"You would not behave like that in the workplace or in the community without sanction, so why do we allow this permissive environment? It is simply because the clubs and governing bodies don't have the backbone, the bottle, the spine to do something about it."

Watch the interview with Dave Scott on Sky here:


More information can be found in various news reports here: https://www.google.com/search?q=sectarian+abuse+kilmarnock&rlz=1C1KMZB_enGB543GB543&source=lnms&tbm=nws&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid8_DY39vgAhUSXRUIHYdoAjUQ_AUIDigB&biw=1280&bih=881

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