SportsDay
SPORTS UPDATE

EPL: Ban on alcohol drinking during matches may be lifted

Football fans will be allowed to drink alcohol while watching games for the first time in 37 years, according to government plans to be published this summer.

Ministers have agreed to review the current ban on drinking alcohol during matches, which has been in force in the top five of English football since 1985.

And they will approve a pilot project to test the safety of drinking alcohol on the pitch, which could pave the way for drinking at the highest levels of the game for the first time in nearly four decades.

The move to review the current ban was recommended in a fan-led assessment of football by former Sports Secretary Tracey Crouch, who published his report in November.

The government today endorsed the assessment’s 10 strategic recommendations, which include proposals to test drinking alcohol during competitions, and details will be set out in a white paper this summer.

While drinking during football matches is prohibited, fans are allowed to consume alcohol while watching other sports and football should be aligned according to fan groups.

Meanwhile, the EFL points out that its clubs are losing a vital source of income as a result of the ongoing ban.

The EFL has calculated that clubs would benefit from an average increase in income of £2 per fan for each home game, if drinking in the seats were allowed.

In total, EFL clubs can take advantage of a windfall of around £35 million each season in the Championship, League One and League Two. If the impact were similar in the top flight, the move would be expected to be worth around £30million a year in the Premier League, if a ban were lifted.

Despite the financial boom the ban is expected to bring with it, there are strong indications the proposal will be resisted judging from increaing cases of soccer hooliganism. Many say if some fans can go overboard when they don’t have permission to drink what would happen if the get the green light to soak themselves during matches.

Britain’s top police officer, Cheshire Police Chief Mark Roberts, previously told Sportsmail it was “madness” to lift the ban on alcohol in stadiums during matches.

He has pointed to a spate of arrests at football matches this season and Euro 2020 was marred by serious violence in the final last year.

“It triggers something designed to make things safer for fans,” Roberts told Sportsmail when the fan-led review was published in November.

“Many would say they don’t want to anyway and wouldn’t welcome fans as they get up during matches to buy alcohol.

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