Fans to be allowed to drink alcohol in seats in radical overhaul of supporter experience


Football supporters will be permitted to drink alcohol in their seats for the first time since 1985 with a fan-led review spearheaded by Tracey Crouch MP pushing for the drastic shake-up

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Football fans will soon be able to drink alcohol in their seats thanks to a fan-led review pushing to end the 36-year ban on booze in the stands.

The radical shake-up to match-day experience is among the key recommendations of Tracey Crouch MP’s independent report which will be published next month.

As reported by The Times , the review will call for a pilot scheme allowing alcohol to be consumed in stadium seats for clubs in the National League and League Two.

It is hoped the change can then be rolled out to all levels of the professional game, including the Premier League.

Fans will be able to drink alcohol in their seats

Football supporters were banned from drinking alcohol within sight of the pitch in 1985 due to hooliganism.

In contrast, rugby and cricket fans are able to enjoy alcoholic beverages from the comfort of their seats and Crouch believes “our view on alcohol and football is outdated”.

While alcohol is on the way back to stands up and down the country, betting sponsorships are on the way out, with the government preparing to stamp out gambling firms’ involvement with football clubs.

Bolton Wanderers severed ties with all betting companies on Wednesday and gambling sponsors on shirts are likely to be banned. Ministers are also believed to be considering regulations on stadium billboards and television adverts.

“Problem gambling ruins lives and we’ve taken this stance to show our support for those who are suffering from a betting addiction,” said Bolton chair Sharon Brittan.

“Latest research shows that there are between 340,000 and 1.4 million adult gambling addicts in the UK and over 60,000 young people aged between 11 and 16 are addicted.

Are you pleased to see the ban on alcohol in football stadium stands lifted? Have your say in the comments.

“We as an industry must do more and through our work with Bolton Wanderers in the Community, Bolton Wanderers Football Club will support outreach programmes for those who experience gambling problems.”

The League One club’s chief executive Neil Hart added: “We recognise that some people do want to bet and also that the league has a commercial partnership with a gambling company in place – and we are respectful of this.

“However, we will not take part in any activity to promote gambling outside the existing EFL contractual requirements.

“This means that we will not provide match-day betting kiosks or enter into any new agreements with gambling companies.

“In the spirit of transparency the club does operate a club lottery which allows supporters to take part on a match-by-match or monthly basis with all this fundraising income supporting club-related good causes and supporter engagement projects. We will continue to provide this support for our local community and our amazing supporters.

“As a club which is at the heart of our community, we want to support those who are suffering as a consequence of gambling addiction.”


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