The Herald Scotland has reported that a wide range of organisations have submitted evidence to the parliament.

The report says that about three quarters of those who responded supported the scrapping of the controversial Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act. 

The Act has been widely criticised by Labour as the figures showing the level of opposition were publicised. 

Labour has said that a large number of organisations who submitted evidence to the parliament backed the law's repeal and raised concerns over the Act's contribution to legislation as well as its impact on freedom of speech and questioning its role in tackling sectarianism in Scotland.

Glasgow Bar Association supports the full repeal and rejects claims that a gap in legislation would be created by its repeal, and human rights group Liberty claim that the Act should be repealed as it is a "heavy-handed solution to a problem already targeted by existing criminal law provisions" which "represents a real threat to freedom of speech".

On the other hand Victim Support Scotland have stated that they are opposed to the repeal unless a viable alternative to support the victims of threatening communications and religious prejudice is introduced. 

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities "urge the extension rather than the repeal of this legislation" to include anti-semitism and other religious prejudice. Stonewall Scotland has also said that a repeal "may send a worrying message" and the Equality Network have voiced their concerns about the ACt being repealed without other clear measures being implemented in its place.

James Kelly, Glasgow Labour MSP, said: "The Justice Committee has been told in the clearest of terms that the Football Act should be scrapped.

“Major organisations like the Law Society state that the law is entirely unnecessary while human rights group Liberty calls it a threat to freedom of speech.

"It is difficult to see how the Nationalists can continue to defend this condemned legislation.

“The Football Act was a PR stunt pulled by a government abusing its majority at the time. It has failed to tackle sectarianism and simply served to draw a divide between fans and the police, reversing years of progress.

“Legal experts, human rights groups and countless supporters continue to speak out against this illiberal and ineffective legislation.

"It’s time the Football Act was scrapped.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The vast majority of football supporters are well-behaved and the Act is a clear statement that no section of society is exempt from standards and behaviours that are considered acceptable.

"As groups representing victims and equalities campaigners have also indicated, repealing it would send entirely the wrong signal to both football and wider society.

“The Act strengthens the law and allows for a more effective response by police and prosecutors to an issue which many appear resigned to accept as the status quo.”

Read the full original article at: http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15488826.75_per_cent_back_repeal_of_Scotland__39_s_anti_sectarian_law/

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