THE Offensive Behaviour at Football Act only targets a small section of society and should be scrapped, according to community justice campaigners.

Sacro, who run programmes designed to reduce re-offending, said the legislation is disproportionate and what is needed is to change attitudes across the country.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament Justice Committee were taking evidence on the Bill to scrap the act by Glasgow Labour MP James Kelly.

Sacro told the committee it supported the MSP’s bid to repeal the act.

In a written submission to the committee Sacro said the law had not been consistent in enforcement and prosecution and those prosecuted didn’t justify a separate offence.

It stated: “The few persons who have been referred to Sacro’s Tackling Offending Prejudices service do not represent such a risk to public disorder that it suggests a defined separate criminal offence relating to this specific offence is proportionate and merits such specification of this as a distinct offence.”

Tom Halpin, Sacro Chief Executive, said: “If you give a fixed penalty ticket to someone who is chanting something that they would say their uncles and their father did in the past and they don’t understand it, you send someone away who has not changed their attitude.”

The Black and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure in Scotland (BEMIS), told the committee the law should be repealed immediately citing concerns over human rights.

Danny Boyle, Parliamentary and Policy Officer said The Act it doesn’t tackle hate crime in Scotland and said the offences were already covered by law.

He said: “It creates a disproportionate focus on one section of society when the overwhelming majority of hate crime is taking place somewhere else.”

Others told the committee the legislation while not perfect should be kept.

Colin Macfarlane, Stonewall Scotland director, said the act should be reviewed but repealing it would be damaging to LGBT people.

He said: “We’re not saying that the Act is perfect, it’s not, but if you just get rid of it straightaway with nothing in its place what signal does that send to LGBT people?”

“For us, this is about ensuring that any LGBT kid is able to participate fully in a family environment to go and watch their football team and not feel worried or scared.”

Disabled football fans group said the law needs to stay.

Sandy Riach, Scottish Disabled Supporters Association, vice-chairman, said many disabled people going to football games are still scared and legislation needed to be in place to keep them safe.