Alcohol can return to English stadiums. Stop, is he not there?
Great news for English fans has appeared on the network – they plan to return alcohol to football stadiums, which was removed back in 1985.
Drinking at football stadiums is allowed, but only in special areas. The ban applies exclusively to the stands, where, since 1985, the British government has legislatively abolished the use of alcohol. Before that, beer in England was an invariable attribute of football.
In England it is legal to drink at rugby, cricket or tennis, but at football stadiums in front of the sector entrance there is a sign: “No alcohol outside this line.”
13 years ago, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley was banned from visiting the stadium after being snatched by cameras as a pint was emptied. The logic is strange, because the viewer regularly sees ads for alcoholic brands that flaunt on billboards, in television ad units and even on football uniforms.
Alcohol in England removed because of football hooligans
In the 1980s, England was famous for football hooligans. The fans behaved vilely in the stadiums: they staged riots and shouted racist insults.
There were regular fights between rival groups of fans:
- In 1974, a Bolton fan stabbed a young Blackpool fan to death during a match;
- In the same year, the FA Cup quarter-finals between Newcastle and Nottingham were stopped midway through the first half as fans ran onto the pitch. One even attacked Nottingham midfielder Dave Serell;
- In 1975, Tottenham and Chelsea fans started a massive brawl on the pitch. The story was even shown on English television;
- Leeds and Manchester United were soon banned from matches in Europe when their fans rioted in France.
- In May 1982, a fan was killed in a riot between Arsenal and West Ham;
- Three years later, Millwall and Luton fought in the FA Cup quarterfinals. The supporters of the teams started the fight in the under-stands and ended it on the football field.
The turning point was the tragedy at the Heysel Stadium in Belgium in 1985. Before the start of the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus, the wall of the stands collapsed, separating the two fan zones. Liverpool fans started climbing over the fences. Italian fans tried to escape from the stadium terrace, causing the stand’s retaining wall to collapse. As a result, 39 people died, and more than 600 were injured of varying severity.
The incident sparked an unprecedented backlash against English teams banned from competing in European competitions for five years, Liverpool were banned for six (initially 10).
The initiator of the reform is the former Minister of Sports of England
Veteran English fans have regularly spoken out about the return of alcohol to the stadiums, but this has not yielded any results. It was only last year that the media began to seriously cover the issue when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson discussed with parliament the return of fans to the stadiums after the coronavirus pause. The topic of alcohol was brought up at the meeting. But it didn’t go further than rumors.
Tracy Crouch , a Conservative MP and former sports minister, is set to make a difference. She promised to publish a report soon, the main recommendation of which would be to change the way alcohol is consumed in and around stadiums. For 36 years, in football arenas, fans are forbidden to drink in the stands, but alcohol is served and drunk in the under-stands and corridors, as well as in pubs around the stadium.
“Our view of alcohol in football is outdated. It does not help. We make people drink fast during halftime, and it’s not a healthy situation. They drink a lot in a short amount of time. So my recommendation is to deal with this so that you don’t have to knock over the pint at half-time, ”Crouch told The Times.
In England, drinking alcohol in the stands is prohibited in the four top divisions (Premier League, Championship, First League, Second League). At the same time, this prohibition does not apply to the lower leagues. Pilot Project Crouch will only return booze to League Two. If the reform is successful, then the rest of the leagues will receive approval.
Is the British Police Against Reform?
Mark Roberts , who runs the British police department, criticized the idea of lifting the ban on alcohol in the stands during matches.
“Unfortunately, we have already seen that alcohol plays a significant role when there are episodes of violence or disorder in football. Anyone who frequent nightly events knows that, unfortunately, UK citizens often have unhealthy relationships with alcohol and drugs.
In other sports, there is simply no violence and criminal behavior on the part of fans. In football, there are, albeit in a minority of cases. But we are also seeing growing concern among the leaders of cricket, horse racing and rugby about the behavior of fans under the influence of alcohol. This led to the fact that in some cases special measures were taken.
In particular, there have been attacks on stewards and hate crimes. It would be irresponsible to fuel this by allowing more alcohol to be consumed while playing.
I would be happy to discuss this issue with Tracey Crouch in order to once again explain what problems the police and security services at the stadiums can face, ”Roberts told The Guardian.
Plus Mark Roberts recalled the riots at Wembley during the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy: “After the Euro 2020 final and the fans returning to the stands, we see the level of unrest at the matches. Unfortunately, this opinion is based on fan behavior that we’ve seen over the past seasons.
Given the events at Wembley – and anyone who has seen the crowd outside the stadium will understand the role alcohol played here – as well as problems finding enough trained stewards, an increase in conflict and unrest, and lingering fears of crime in hate football, I don’t think it’s worth adding more alcohol to this mixture. “
Thousands of fans gathered outside Wembley Stadium ahead of the final. Some of them tried to tear down the fences and break into the arena. About a hundred fans, presumably without tickets, broke into the stadium grounds. And after the final whistle, the British attacked the fans of the Italian team.