Celtic and Rangers fans warned pubs legally count as football grounds

Well, that's a new one!

Fans at Celtic Park.
Celtic fans celebrate Is Celtic Park a tough place to go? Image Photo Julian Finney/Getty Images

Here’s a new one. 

Celtic and Rangers have been warned that any fans wishing to go to pubs to engage in sectarian chanting could be subject to sanctions including being banned from football grounds. This is according to the Scottish police, because pubs count legally as football grounds.

The Police confirmed today that anyone who is subject to a football banning order will be barred and anyone who commits an offence in a pub while watching the game could be handed an order.

Chief Inspector Stephen Stiff explained: “The game kicks off at noon and will be televised live, and in many licensed premises.

“This will be the first meeting of the two teams for some time and has the added pressure of being a cup semi-final.

Hatred
Hatred There is no love lost between Rangers and Celtic fans Image Photo Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

“History indicates that there is a rise in alcohol-related violence, including domestic violence, around an Old Firm game and as such we have been proactive in highlighting this to licensees across the region who will be screening the match live this weekend.

“Police Scotland officers have already made visits to licensed premises to remind staff of their licensing conditions and to offer safety advice.”

Celtic and Rangers meet in the Scottish Cup semi-final on Sunday and the police are worried about tensions rising ahead of the game.

Figures released in 2011 showed that there were 257 arrests at the Old Firm Derby while policing cost £2.4m. There were 37 arrests last time these sides met in 2015. 

Chief superintendent Brian McInulty, the local policing commander for Greater Glasgow, also commented on the game this weekend saying: “We will also have police dogs to detect anything that shouldn’t be coming in to the stadium to make sure that the event is a safe environment for everybody there to enjoy.”

He added: “If you are caught taking something in that you shouldn’t have then, quite simple, you will be arrested.”

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Loaded sports writer Pearse Corcoran has covered news, sport and entertainment for several national newspapers and radio stations in Ireland. Follow him on Twitter at @PearseCorcoran

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