Should facial recognition cameras be introduced to Scottish football?

Cash should benefit our game and not alienate our fans, says Chris Jack

IF someone said you had a budget of £4million and asked you how you would spend it to improve Scottish football, what would be at the top of your list?

Building more indoor arenas like Toryglen so kids can learn the game? Putting coaches through their UEFA qualifications to help them produce the next generation of stars? Or give it to clubs to overhaul the match day experience, improve pitches or even just afford better players?

Glasgow Times: SPFL board member Mike MulraneySPFL board member Mike Mulraney

You would need to get fairly far down the list before you would ask for cameras at the turnstiles that scan your face and run it through a database before you are allowed entry to see your team.

But that is what the SPFL, the people in charge of Scottish league football, what to spend any cash they get on. And they want the Government to stump up for it.

If that is the best they can come up with, they shouldn't be allowed near one penny of it. And nor should Holyrood even consider handing over our cash for such a ridiculous idea.

It is, apparently, to help combat the unruly behaviour of football fans across the country. We have, apparently again, a huge issue with supporters, who are singing songs and letting of flares and generally causing chaos in Scottish stadia. But, do we? Well, no.

The way this issue has been blown out of proportion you would think we have riots in the stands, fans fighting on the streets and Police resources are being stretched to the limit every week as our game careers towards a crisis. There are issues in football, as there are in society in general, but spending £4million to combat the latest outbreak of outrage is not the answer.

If fans are misbehaving at matches, let the Police deal with them. If they have broken the law, let the Courts deal with them.

The rest of the fans? Let them enjoy themselves and watch their team without being targeted by legislation that isn't effective and a camera system that makes them feel like a criminal.

As for the £4million cheque, invest it, use it wisely, help us grow and improve our game.

Football is nothing without fans. It's time we remembered that and started treating them properly.




The idea will never get off the ground, says Alison McConnell

THE concept of facial recognition scanners and their introduction to Scottish football grounds seems as likely as a Glasgow heatwave tomorrow afternoon.

Making the right noises about offensive behaviour, illicit chants and the introduction of pyrotechnics is all well and good but the bottom line is that there is neither the money nor the appetite for the introduction of such devices.

Installing the software would come at a cost of £4m at a time when there simply isn’t enough cash to go round. There is no way that such an amount of money will be shelled out to bring in the technology required because it isn’t there.

SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster in the stands. (38221788)

The UEFA’s strict liability concept, which penalises clubs for the behaviour of their fans even if they are not to blame, could be introduced but that too is not without its problems – and an SPFL working party has already concluded that it doesn’t work.

Facial recognition will not get off the ground but it is clear that there are problems within the game which need to be addressed, particularly the recent phase for the introduction of smoke bombs and fireworks.

But other aspects such as sectarian chanting are deep-rooted societal issues with which there are no quick answers or solutions.

Read: Police source: Facial recognition technology will not stop football fans taking banned pyrotechnics to games