Football fans will soon be able to drink alcohol in their seats for the first time in 36 years.
This is one of many changes to the matchday experience that are being recommended by Tracey Crouch MP, whose independent report on the matter is set to be published next month.
According to The Times, the review will call for a pilot scheme allowing alcohol to be drank in stadium seats for clubs in the National League and League Two. Should that trial be a success, the review hopes the initiative can be rolled out to all levels of the professional game, including the Premier League.
Football fans were banned from consuming alcohol within sight of the pitch in 1985 due to hooliganism. However, fans of other sports, such as cricket and rugby, can still drink in their seat, with Crouch quoted as saying ‘our view on alcohol and football is outdated’.
“It’s not helped when you see scenes as we did at Wembley,” she said. “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.”