Football League clubs call for fans to be allowed to drink alcohol in the stands

Nine Football League clubs are hoping to overturn the law which bans fans from drinking alcohol in the stands during matches.

Blackburn Rovers v Leeds. Ewood Park, Blackburn. United's travelling fans.
20th October 2018. Jonathan Gawthorpe
Blackburn Rovers v Leeds. Ewood Park, Blackburn. United's travelling fans. 20th October 2018. Jonathan Gawthorpe

Doncaster Rovers and Grimsby Town are among the clubs backing plans to allow supporters to drink booze while watching matches.

The clubs are supporting the lifting of a ban which prohibits supporters drinking alcohol within view of the pitch, according to reports.

The Football League clubs want fans to be able to drink during matches and want to overturn the 33-year rule which bans supporters from drinking in the stands.

Stock pic by Johnny Green/PA Wire

While football fans can drink on concourses and in executive boxes, rules currently prohibit supporters taking alcohol drinks to their seats at any stage either before, during or after the game.

Sunderland Football Club are spearheading the move and have claimed that the existing laws, that have been in place since 1985, are unfair on supporters.

A Sunderland club spokesman 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.”

Ipswich Town, Accrington Stanley, Port Vale, Forest Green Rovers, Lincoln City, Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town are the other sides calling for the rules to be changed. While Grimsby Town, Newport County and Gillingham have said they are interested in discussing the issue.

Customers collecting their drinks at a bar. Picture by PA Archive/PA Images

The Football Supporters Federation argue that the laws are now not just outdated but were also ill-thought out and that it was time to treat football fans with more respect.

"When the laws were drafted they were a knee-jerk reaction to problems at the time," Football Supporters Federation caseworker Amanda Jacks said.

"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."

A Home Office spokesman said there were no plans to lift the ban and added that football has 'unique public order risks', going on to say 'many incidents of football-related disorder are spontaneous, involving offenders who have consumed alcohol, often to excess.

“We are satisfied that existing legislation is necessary and appropriate," they said.

What do you think? Should drinking be allowed in the stands at football grounds? Comment below.