Football fans could get 'lager shampoo' if alcohol ban is lifted says police chief

Fans in stadiums will be at risk of a “lager shampoo” if a ban on drinking alcohol in the stands is lifted, says the national lead on football policing.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts said the prospect of fans throwing drinks in the air when celebrating is not “conducive” for families who want to attend games.

The UK government may scrap a ban on alcohol in the stands.

Roberts doesn’t “accept” arguments to change the laws and said such a move would require “more police”.

Rules in place since 1985 ban drinking alcohol in view of the pitch but the UK government is considering a change which was outlined in a fan-led review of the game.

It has been suggested the change would stop fans rushing into stadiums from pubs or from drinking quickly during half-time.

“I don’t accept the argument at all,” Roberts said while giving evidence at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing.

“People would still drink to excess outside, but then arrive and carry on drinking. And so you’d afford them 90 minutes extra time to drink. And more alcohol causes more problems.

“You’d have that many problems, they’d have to pay for more police in stadiums to deal with the issues. You then have the issues of people throwing beer in the air, which you see all the time at BOXPARK [events] and the like.

“So if you’re there with the family, and every time a goal goes in you get a lager shampoo, it doesn’t make it conducive to going.”


‘Pretty heavy use’ of drugs at matches


As part of his evidence to the DCMS Committee, Roberts said there had been a deterioration in fan behaviour since the Covid pandemic, pointing to issues in the recruitment and training of an adequate number of stewards at matches.

He also said there is “evidence of pretty heavy use” of cocaine at “most stadiums” and welcomed the introduction of football banning orders for those found to be in possession of Class A drugs.

Meanwhile, Roberts does not expect a widespread postponement of matches around the coronation of King Charles III in London on 6 May.

An entire round of Premier League and Football League games was cancelled as a mark of respect after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September.

“We have clearly got a period of planning now,” he added. “It may be if there are particular fixtures in London which coincide with the coronation, but we have got the time now to sensibly reflect and make plans because it worked really well for the funeral.

“It will be a decision for the Metropolitan Police. Clearly there will be a massive mutual aid from all around the country to support the operation as there was last time.”

Original article published 08.11.2022 on the BBC website.

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