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EFL Calls for Review Regarding Alcohol Ban

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English Football League boss Shaun Harvey has called for a review of the ban on fans drinking alcohol in the stands at matches.

Fans have been banned from drinking alcohol within view of the pitch since 1985.

Harvey said: "There is no doubt football has changed dramatically in the 30-plus years since the introduction of the act and to have a blanket ban on alcohol in view of the playing area remaining in 2018 is, in our view, disproportionate to today's level of risk."

He explained that the EFL has had the matter under review for some time and wants a "sensible and responsible" debate with the government and local safety experts.

Harvey noted that fans are already allowed to consume alcohol in concourse and hospitality areas before and after games, and at half-time, as well as in pubs outside stadiums. Despite this, there is just one arrest for every 25,000 supporters at EFL matches.

"Alongside the potential increase in disorder considerations, one of the key issues that requires further examination is the fact football is being treated inconsistently with other sports - some that occur in the same venue," said Harvey.

"The EFL would always request football is treated consistently and given the same opportunities as other sports, so the many law-abiding citizens attending matches who wish to be able to drink while posing no threat to public order are able to do so."

The view is understood to be widely supported across the league. One EFL club spokesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, said the current rule is "ridiculous and clearly discriminates against football fans".

The Football Supporters' Federation is backing the campaign, with its 'Faircop' caseworker Amanda Jacks explaining that any change would need to be trialled first and monitored, but the idea that football should be treated differently is "outdated and based on prejudice".

The government, however, has already rejected these calls. In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said: "This is an important piece of public order legislation, which specifically applies to designated football matches because of football's unique public order risks.

"It provides a balance, permitting fans to enjoy alcoholic drinks in a controlled environment within concourse and hospitality areas. We are satisfied that existing legislation is necessary and appropriate."

The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985 was introduced after years of disorder at matches and was an attempt to balance fans' right to enjoy a drink, and the clubs' desire to sell them drinks, with concerns about alcohol's link with anti-social behaviour and violence.

The act only applies to England and Wales, with Scotland having a total ban on alcohol at football stadiums in place since violence at the 1980 Scottish Cup Final between Celtic and Rangers.

The 1985 act has forced some clubs to put up a tarpaulin and other screens to ensure compliance, while curtains in boxes are routinely drawn to allow their occupants to drink.

An increasing number of EFL clubs believe this encourages binge drinking and arguments with bar staff and stewards. They also believe allowing fans to drink while watching the game, as they can elsewhere in Europe, could increase match-day revenue.

But this debate has not yet crossed over into the Premier League and there is a view within the top flight that now is not the time to be asking the government to review this rule.

They believe recent stories about the poor behaviour of some England fans abroad, concerns about the rising cost of policing games and the ongoing safe-standing review make it very unlikely that the government would consider any change to the status quo.

A spokesperson for the Football Association said it is not currently considering the matter but the governing body would discuss it with football's other authorities if "clubs were in favour of change" and gave "the leagues a mandate to explore the topic".

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Can imagine that the first game that this happens in, beers get thrown everywhere like you saw in fan parks or pub gardens at the World Cup. And not just towards opposition fans either.

Whilst I don't mind having alcohol being brought in from the concourses at football games, you can imagine the uproar people will cause when they get drenched in watered-down beer that tastes like piss. 

Football fans can be a totally different breed when it comes to alcohol. 

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Yeah I'm with Stan. Don't want this - don't need it. 

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Considering the weight that's been put upon our police in England, stretching them to their limits.  Anything that makes their job easier should be implemented. 

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What's more important, go to a football match with mums and kid's and enjoy watching a match or watch some overboard idiots getting pissed as newt's, tossing cans and swearing to the high heavens because their team is even losing or a decision has gone against them, then we will revert back to the 60's/70s with pitch invasions and what not?

A big no from me, hopefully, I can go to a few more matches with my grandsons now they are getting older, I am fucked if I want them to see some idiots buying cheap booze or cider because the cost of tickets nowadays cost a bomb and seeing them act like big brave men because the booze has made them feel like Supermen. 

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Remove the ban. Have an increased police presence at matches for the first games. Make the harshest possible examples of everyone who gets out of control. 

Theres nothing genetically different in British people that makes us incapable of enjoying beer at a football match. It’s the culture, and cultures can be changed.

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4 minutes ago, Inverted said:

Remove the ban. Have an increased police presence at matches for the first games. Make the harshest possible examples of everyone who gets out of control. 

Theres nothing genetically different in British people that makes us incapable of enjoying beer at a football match. It’s the culture, and cultures can be changed.

Difficult with cuts being made left, right and centre.

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Too many dickheads about these days. We saw it during the World Cup. If you can’t go through two increments of 45-50 minutes without needing alcohol, I think you’ve got a problem that cannot be blamed on Football. 

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I can’t get my head around them wet wipes that throw pints around. Majority of the videos from the World Cup weren’t people “throwing” their pints as a natural reaction as part of a celebration, it was people intentionally throwing their pints, and when they do this, they’re actually putting people in a bit of danger as the force and weight of their pints can do damage. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Cannabis said:

The weight of that plastic cup would no doubt have catastrophic consequences should it collide with an innocent bystander.

Jesus wept.

Not done Science for a long time but a half full pint cup thrown at say 30mph (a rather weak throw in all honesty) becomes a dangerous missile. Once thrown, it’s about 15kgs in weight with an impact force of between about 4 to 10 times depending upon what it strikes and how it connects. Quite simple, it becomes an incredible force given what it is and a force that can result in pretty bad injury.

So, yeah, there is chance for what you said above to happen should a pint cup get thrown in the air. 

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It would significantly boost the atmosphere in most grounds.

At present if you want to get drunk or drink a bit you do so before the game which makes the atmosphere in the first 20 minutes strongest. By the end of the half it has gone flat, the drinkers go down to the concourse queue for 10 minutes, down a pint in 5 but are incapable of rekindling the buzz they first had. Anyone who drinks knows once the buzz is gone and you're on the way down it can't be saved.

Another benefit to the atmosphere would come from those who don't drink or drink much who would now have a pint or three which would give them more life in the stands.

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Only acceptable if they improve the quality of beer on offer, and the pricing. Otherwise who the fuck wants to drink more of the shite they serve up at every football ground.

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Wait, you can't drink beer in the Stadiums over there? That's part of the whole god damn stadium experience. 

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3 minutes ago, Tommy said:

Wait, you can't drink beer in the Stadiums over there? That's part of the whole god damn stadium experience. 

You can drink in the stadium concourses, just not in the stands. 

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I think people will get over it, the pint throwing was made famous because it was initially just in the moment. I remember the fan park in Lille and no one was recording themselves with a pint, it just happened. And then it looked class looking back, but when people are standing with full pints ready to launch everywhere it gets too muchz

The novelty will wear off when you play once or twice a week and people in general are starting to turn against the idea. Mix any launching of pints with CCTV and stewarding and it won't be about for long.

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