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24th Sep 2021

Drinking in seats at football stadiums could soon be allowed again

Wayne Farry

Fans have been unable to drink at professional football matches in England since 1985

Drinking in seats at British football stadiums could be allowed for the first time in more than 30 years as part of a fan-led review into the game.

While drinking is permitted on stadium concourses, drinking in seats has been prohibited since 1985, when it was banned in an effort to curb widespread hooliganism in the game.

According to The Times, the findings of the independent review will soon be published by sports minister and current Conservative MP Tracey Crouch, though no specifics have been announced.

One recommendation, she told The Times, will be to alter football’s “outdated” relationship with alcohol on match days.

“Our view on alcohol and football is outdated,” she said, before admitting that the timing of the recommendations – following the scenes witnessed at Wembley during the Euro 2020 final – is not ideal.

“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.”

Crouch also stated that aspects of the ban often lead fans to drink more in short spaces of time, something which a pilot scheme for drinking at seats may help alleviate.

“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,” she added.

“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.”

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