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Controversial football stadium rule set to end; fans banned since 1985

A controversial football stadium rule is set to end with fans keen to take advantage of the relaxation with spectators banned since 1985.

Yes, we’re talking about alcohol, something that supporters have been not allowed to drink from their own seats for over 35 years.

But now, following a review, it looks set to be reinstated and it’s welcome news to many, while others aren’t so happy on it.

Hastings United | Non League Club
Controversial football stadium rule set to end

The specific details are yet to be published, however former sports minister and current Conservative MP Tracey Crouch is expected to issue her independent review into football, with a key recommendation being changes to how alcohol is consumed within stadiums, according to The Times newspaper.

Current ruling means fans are able to consume alcohol in the concourses of grounds in the EFL but not in seats, meaning fans can drink before the match and quickly at half time.

Crouch, who has been battling cancer, admitted the timing of the recommendation against the backdrop of the scenes at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final in July is not exactly ideal, yet feels the moment has come to review how alcohol is viewed as part of the match-going experience.

“Our view on alcohol and football is outdated,” she told The Times. “It’s not helped when you see scenes like we did at Wembley. But that’s why I would pilot it first. Let’s get the data. My view is not some kind of altruistic view that fans should be able to drink at football. It’s also about allowing clubs to be able to sustain themselves.

“We can look at things like an independent regulator as part of this process. But football has to take a bit of responsibility for itself and sustain itself better.

“We kettle people into drinking quickly at half-time. And that is the unhealthy aspect of the football fan’s relationship with alcohol. They drink a lot in a short space of time. So my recommendation is to pilot this and not have to down a pint at half-time.”

Crouch has urged for a pilot on serving alcohol at clubs in the National League and League Two with a view to extending it across the professional game, thus protecting income of clubs lower down the footballing pyramid.

“Take a club like Dulwich Hamlet, which is in National League South,” Crouch added. “It’s revenue is generated through its refreshments. If it gets promoted to the National League Premier [which operates under the alcohol ban], it effectively stops generating that revenue during a game. They said openly in evidence to us that they cannot afford to get promoted because of the rules around alcohol.

“Lots of clubs generate a lot of their income through their bars and I think it’s time to look at this issue again. We do have this bizarre situation where you can go to Headingley and drink as a cricket fan, but go to Elland Road and you can’t drink as a football fan.”

The fan-led review, chaired by Crouch, was created amid the controversy that followed the collapsed European Super League project earlier this year, while the Duke of Cambridge has shown his support for grassroots football fans hoping to save the “heart and soul” of their clubs.

Twitters reacted with reports the controversial football stadium rule is set to end; fans banned since 1985…

@EireDarryl: Ah yes because the English fans are so well behaved without alcohol at games

@___Lonee: You can still drink at a football stadium. Just not in view of the pitch

@L_R_9: Good idea. Can take your time and enjoy a pint whilst watching. Otherwise they rush 2 or 3 in the concourse at ht anyway

@sanchohack: let’s be honest they are still going to rush 2 or 3 in the concourse at half time 😂

@canviseffects: I mean you’ve no chance getting a beer with the queues that go on anyway

@lawseyitfc: You’ll be more likely to leave wearing a pint than actually finishing one, as you know loads will just forcefully chuck it when there’s a goal

@chege_kinuthia: Now they will blame racist slurs on the alcohol

@philpete: Can’t wait to get covered in beer every time Spurs score… oh wait…

@chamonalisa: As a football supporter who enjoys a beer part of me thinks this is a splendid idea. However, part of me thinks its a horrible idea. This works at rugby matches but I think the entire ethos of a football game does not lend itself well to drink.

@MonkWelsh: It don’t work at rugby matches. You spend all the match getting on and off your seat. Because someone wants a pint it’s annoying as fuck 👍

@I_am_The_Mard: Plan to ban betting sponsorship….. and then reintroduce alcohol, so we’re shifting from one vice to another then? Will clubs be sponsored by the breweries again….. might make for some new iconic kits.

@Fs0c1ety04: Hooligans and alcohol. What could possibly go wrong?

@BODIENDOYLE: That is a really poor idea.

@sheeshkebab: That’ll go well.

@IainWright2: No good comes from that I’m afraid and I love beer every bit as much as the next man! I love both sports but football and rugby fans behaviour are just not comparable unfortunately!!

@jaysta1979: Like that’s going to end well. They can’t behave themselves now let alone if they can get beers in the stadium!!

@matt_redders: Honestly, I’d absolutely love to be able to sit with a pint during a game… but unfortunately, we can’t because of the small minority who would get absolutely shit faced and cause carnage in the stands just for the sake of it

@welsh_shaun: Can’t people sit and watch sport for 45 minutes without needing lubrication? They are already all watching it through their phone cameras half the time. Is it too much to ask to just pay attention and engage? Who wants to miss a goal for the sake of a plastic pint of Carling?

@ninety_six96: Gonna say it…a football terrace doesn’t lend itself to enjoyable beer drinking. Too many getting up & downs. Too many dicks that can’t take the beer they think they can or control themselves generally. Just drinking for the sake of it.

@vickijohnson151: Time and again football crowds show they cannot be trusted – violence, racism, littering – why would @FootballAssoc reintroduce alcohol and standing into that heady mix?

@montyoxymoron: Bad idea. don’t fancy getting covered in ale every time a goal goes in. We aren’t to be trusted in this country unfortunately.

@CFCDaily: No thanks. The Euros and World Cup is bad enough when someone buys a pint just to throw it when we’ve scored our 5th goal of the game in a group phase

@bbagray1983: Lol! So we have conveniently forgotten our fans drunken behaviour the the Euro final… what, just 2 months ago! Short memories.

@Morts_7: Shit idea. If you want to drink and watch the game go to the pub. Letting people in and out every 5 mins, getting soaked every time there is a goal, ruins the spectator experience

@ianmackay88: Nah not for me. Can’t be arsed with the constant back and forth of fans going for drinks getting in the way. Also you know every goal, you’re going to get soaked in beer.

@Giantspurs: No thanks. Love a half time pint but don’t want some jumped up 18 year old chucking beer on me when we go 1-0 up at Burnley in a dead rubber

@KloppWorld: If watching a game in the stadium isn’t entertaining enough that you need to be drinking as well, then YOU’RE THE PROBLEM, not the rules or the laws. English fans have proven time and time again they can’t be trusted when alcohol is involved. Bad move this

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