Scottish football is to employ a full-time official to combat racism, and promote a series of high-profile campaigns.
The new official will work with the established charity, Show Racism the Red Card, by targeting football clubs and schools on a variety of initiatives and leading campaigns against racism in football grounds. There could also be scope to tackle religious sectarianism, which is still prevalent in some areas of Scotland.
Although racism is not a major problem in Scottish football, there have been various instances of racist behaviour among spectators at football grounds, and in two instances in the past year these led to criminal convictions.
'Keep the pressure on racism'
David Taylor, the Scottish Football Association's chief executive, said the new post would help to reinforce the message coming from the courts: "We are serious about this problem. We feel we need to have high-profile campaigns to keep the pressure on racism in Scotland, against supporters who racially abuse players from opposing teams or rival supporters.
'Football being responsible'
"This is an example of football being responsible in society. We hope that, ultimately, the campaign will provide a platform for moving into the more difficult area of sectarianism."
The SFA has received a grant of €32,500 from UEFA as well as substantial financial support worth €107,000 over the next three years from the Scottish Executive to pay for the co-ordinator. To help launch the new campaign, Scotland players promoted the anti-racism message by raising cards before their friendly international against Norway in August.
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