A football supporters’ group has been given Scottish Government funds to boost its role.
The £70,000 package was awarded to Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS), described as the “voice” for fans whose Scottish Council Trust Chairman Colin Pike sits.
Sports minister Shona Robison said the money will help the organisation broaden its reach.
“The views of football supporters are important and I believe that by making these changes SDS will be giving all football supporters a chance for their views to be heard,” she said.
SDS aims to double the number of supporters it represents to at least 30,000 who are affiliated to supporters’ trusts, groups or individual fans by the end of March next year.
Chairman Alan Harris said: “This new funding will allow Supporters Direct Scotland to expand its traditional role of advising and supporting supporters’ trusts to represent the maximum number of supporters, whether or not they are members of supporters’ trusts.
“SDS aims to develop a Scottish football supporters network so that SDS becomes the authentic voice of football club fans and allows for an effective and productive dialogue between football fans, government, football authorities, clubs, communities and other public authorities.”
The announcement comes against a backdrop of tension between some supporters, clubs and the SNP administration over a plan to crack down on religious-sectarian hate crimes.
MSPs are debating legislation which would create two offences relating to behaviour deemed to “incite religious, racial or other forms of hatred” in and around football grounds and on the internet.
If passed by MSPs, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill would mean those convicted could spend as long as five years in prison and be banned from football grounds.
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