Football fans could soon be allowed to drink in the stands again

The ban on football fans drinking in the stands could soon be lifted if recommendations by an MP are accepted.

Tracey Crouch told The Times she will recommend a pilot in the fourth tier and the National League Premier as part of her fan-led review of football governance, which is due to be published next month.

Drinking in sight of the pitch has been banned in the top five tiers of the game since 1985 but Leyton Orient CEO Danny Macklin said it was way past time that adult responsibility to drink sensibly and safely was conferred on football fans, as it is on those who watch other sports.

“It’s something we’re keen to see trialled. The reality is it will help improve the fan experience,” he told the PA news agency.

“At the moment we have a lot of fans that rush in to the Breyer Group Stadium at 10 to three after a few pints in the local establishments, rush to get in and often miss the first couple of minutes.

"It's a Ryder Cup. These fans have been pent up for a long time and they're going to come out and get behind their team. It's going to be loud, and we expect it to be loud, but again, we ask for people not to cross that line and be respectful of both sides."

US Ryder Cup Captain, Steve Stricker

“This is an opportunity for us to create much-needed additional revenue, not just us at Leyton Orient but every club would be able to benefit from that.

“There will be fans who will say it creates a load of rowdy behaviour, the reality is we will make sure that’s policed in the same way as someone who’s going to have four or five pints in the local pub. This will be an opportunity to get people into the stadiums earlier, potentially keeping them there a little bit longer after the game, and allow them to be adults.

“I come from the world of cricket and it seems crazy that the same person can enjoy a nice cold pint on a hot summer’s day at the cricket but they can’t do that two weeks later at a football stadium.”

The EFL is understood to have been advocating for this change for some time, and Macklin highlighted the potentially huge financial upside to clubs who until recently had been starved of matchday revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We average (attendances of) 5,500. If 1,000 people bought an additional pint at £3.50 you can do the maths. Three and a half thousand pounds, 20-odd times a year, that adds up.”

Original article 24.09.21 on the Evening Standard website

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