After the first Scottish FA convention in which sports promoter, Barry Hearn, labelled Scottish football’s ban on alcohol sales in our grounds as ‘archaic’. We are asking our readers if alcohol should be reintroduced?
The ban was imposed after the 1980 Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Rangers when both sets of supporters fought with one another on the Hampden pitch.
However, Hearn, said: “It’s archaic in today’s world for a customer not to be able to buy an alcoholic beverage at a function or a sporting event. What you have to do is make sure fans behave themselves. That’s a security issue for you. If you can’t keep your establishment secure, there should be no booze, but you shouldn’t have a blanket ban on alcohol throughout Scottish football.”
Supporters Direct Scotland have also asked for a trial period for the reintroduction of alcohol in Scottish football stadiums.
Andrew Jenkin, Head of Supporters Scotland said: “Although there was a majority in favour of lifting the ban, there are other aspects which should be considered before any decision should be taken regarding the ban on alcohol in Scottish football.
“For example, consideration should be taken regarding the varying demographics of match-attending football fans. Our research revealed that the majority of female supporters were opposed to any relaxation of current legislation, as were respondents over the age of sixty.”
Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan confirmed to the convention, that initial discussions had already taken place with Police Scotland regarding lifting the ban on alcohol. But it seems Police Scotland are standing their ground on this matter.
Assistant Chief Constable Bernard Higgins said: “I made it very clear that, before we entered into formal discussions, a wide-ranging public consultation should be undertaken. Police Scotland believes we should maintain the position of a no alcohol at football policy.
“That said, in recognition that this decision was made following events in the 1980s, I have had some very informal discussions with the football authorities. I was keen that this should be extended beyond the footballing community as any change to our policy would have a far reaching and wide social impact. To my knowledge, this has not been done as yet.”
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government, added: “We’ve got no plans to re-introduce alcohol into football stadiums at the present time. This was an issue that was raised a couple of years ago by the SFA and by some of the senior football clubs in Scotland.
“But we’ve got no plans to change that and, even if there was any consideration of looking at this matter, there would have to be a wide consultation with the police, other enforcement bodies, local authorities to consider what the implications were.”
The reintroduction of alcohol in Scottish football grounds would be a welcome addition to the bank balances of clubs up and down the country. But is this just asking for trouble in return for clubs siphoning more money out of fans on match day?
What are your views? Please vote in our poll and leave a comment on what you think.