Flare set off during World Cup Qualifiers at Hampden | inside World Soccer

It has emerged that disciplinary actions are to be taken against the Scottish Football Association (SFA), following an incident at Hampden Park during a World Cup qualifying match between Scotland and Croatia (October 15) in which a flare was set off by travelling Croatia fans, reaching the athletics track running around the pitch.

A road flare showing the striker and cap
A road flare showing the striker and cap

In allowing the flare to enter the venue undetected, the SFA can be seen to have failed in their duty of care for players, staff and supporters alike.

The potential for injury to players in such an incident is obvious, and would have been yet more serious were it not for the athletics track separating the pitch from the stands.

Accordingly, match referee Ovidiu Hategan reported the incident to the sport's governing body FIFA.

A FIFA spokeswoman commented to members of the media, "We can confirm disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the SFA and the Croatian Football Federation for incidents reported during the preliminary competition match of the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil between Scotland and Croatia on 15 October. As the proceedings are ongoing, we cannot comment further."

If the charges made against the SFA are to be found true by the FIFA probe, the SFA could be hit with a hefty fine, which would prove a particularly hard pill to swallow in light of Scotland's failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup Finals in Brazil, which will impact not only on national pride and morale, but also on revenue from sponsorships and merchandising for the SFA.

Scotland and football danger have a long history...

Scotland's fine name has long since been tarnished by incidents of violence and bad behaviour in the stands.

Since as far back as 1909 at least, Rangers and Celtic fans have warred brutally, in the stands and on the streets of Glasgow, and Hearts and Hibernian fans in Edinburgh have been at it longer still.

Both rivalries stemmed largely from sectarian divides, which lay the battlegrounds across the cities for hooligan feuds.

Gladly, football hooliganism in Scotland has been declining since the 2000s and most fans enjoy the sport amicably, maybe risking a gamble on http://freebets.org/ rather than taking a chance on a broken jaw.

There could be trouble ahead...

The occasional throw of a flare could be the very least of our worries next summer...

Reports emerged from World Cup host nation Brazil recently, telling of a particularly brutal incident during one low profile football match in which a referee stabbed a player in the chest for refusing to leave the pitch.

He was decapitated by a mob of enraged supporters for his troubles. Read all about it here!