Friday, June 24

‘Irresponsible’: Police Chief Questions Plan To Let Soccer Fans Drink In The Stands | Soccer

UK Football Police Chief Mark Roberts says it would be “irresponsible to feed” the football problem with disorder by allowing alcohol to be consumed in the stands.

Tracey Crouch MP, a former sports minister, will recommend a driver in League Two and the top division of the National League as part of her fan-led soccer governance review, due out next month.

Drinking in sight of the field has been prohibited in the first five levels of the game since 1985, although it is allowed in cricket, rugby, horse racing and darts. Roberts says adding alcohol would contribute to growing disorder in the sport and pointed to the scenes at the Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

He said: “Unfortunately, we have seen that alcohol often plays a role in violent and disorderly behavior in soccer. Anyone who frequents the nighttime economy will know that sadly the UK often has an unhealthy relationship with drinking and drugs, so while this is not a problem unique to football, there is a clear correlation in soccer and its surroundings between alcohol and bad behavior. .

“Other sports just don’t see violence and criminal behavior from their supporters like soccer, even if it is a minority, but we have seen growing concern in cricket, horse racing and rugby around alcohol and behavior. , which has prompted some places to take counterattacks. measures.

“Since the final of Euro 2020 and the return of fans to the stadiums, we have seen worrying levels of disorder in matches. Sadly, this is based on the mess seen in recent seasons. In particular, we have seen attacks on delegates and hate crimes and it would be irresponsible to fuel this by allowing more alcohol consumption during games.

“I would appreciate the contact of Tracey Crouch MP so that we can discuss her views and again explain the challenges that these proposed changes would bring to police and security personnel in soccer. Considering the events at Wembley, and anyone who has seen the crowd outside the venue will know the role alcohol played, the current difficulties in obtaining a sufficient number of trained administrators, the increase in disorder and the constant concerns about crime. hate in football, I don’t think anyone would suggest adding more alcohol to the mix. “

Crouch, the Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford in Kent, believes the current rules encourage binge drinking and are part of the problem. “Our opinion on alcohol and soccer is out of date,” he said. told the Times. “It doesn’t help when you see scenes like the ones we did at Wembley. But that’s why I would pilot it first. “

She added: “We get people to drink fast at halftime. And that’s the unhealthy aspect of the football fan’s relationship with alcohol. They drink a lot in a short time. “

Crouch explained that lifting the alcohol ban could be key to helping secure the financial future of clubs in the lower leagues. Drinking in non-league football is allowed below the top tier of the National League, and the loss of revenue could affect clubs that get promoted.

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“Let’s take a club like Dulwich Hamlet, which is in the National League South,” Crouch said. “Their income is generated through their soft drinks. If you are promoted to the Premier of the National League, you effectively stop generating that income during a game. They openly told us as proof that they can’t afford an upgrade due to alcohol rules.

“Many clubs generate a large part of their income through their bars and I think it is time to take another look at this issue. We have a weird situation where you can go to Headingley and drink like a cricket fan, but go to Elland Road and you can’t drink like a football fan. “

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