Calls for rethink of alcohol ban at football stadia

A number of football clubs across England have called for the reconsideration of a decades-long ban on fans being able to drink alcohol in the stands.

Under a law introduced in 1985, football supporters are banned from drinking alcohol in view of the pitch and are only allowed to do so from the concourse. This restricts fans to drinking either before the match or at half-time and some clubs feel the lifting of the ban would result in an enhanced fan experience at stadiums.

Radio station talkSPORT reports that Ipswich Town, Sunderland, Doncaster Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale, Forest Green Rovers, Lincoln City, Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town have backed plans for a pilot scheme to be introduced to explore the possibility of allowing fans to drink in the stands.

A Sunderland spokesperson told talkSPORT: “At the Stadium of Light, concert-goers can watch Kings of Leon whilst enjoying a pint, but cannot when watching their football team. This seems discriminatory to football fans.”

A Home Office spokesperson told talkSPORT that it is satisfied that existing legislation is “necessary and appropriate”.

Other clubs that have indicated a willingness for discussion on the matter include Grimsby Town, Newport County and Gillingham.

A caseworker for the Football Supporters’ Federation, Amanda Jacks, added: “When the laws were drafted they were a knee-jerk reaction to problems at the time. Nobody thought them through properly and certainly didn’t foresee that in 2018 we would be talking about football fans being singled out from the rest of society.”

No such ruling is in place at cricket and rugby stadiums. Indeed, when football stadiums host other sports, such as rugby, fans are able to drink in their seats.

Image: Ronnie Macdonald