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Fans are in favour of relaxation of alcohol restriction

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Research conducted by fans’ group Supporters Direct Scotland has shown that the majority of football fans are in favour of removing the ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in football grounds.

The research, conducted last year as part of the National Football Survey, showed supporters were largely (61%) of the opinion that ban should be lifted with 48% of those surveyed of the opinion that the ban had been successful in reducing crowd disorder and anti social behaviour.

The results appear as part of Supporter Direct Scotland ‘How Fans Affect Football’ research papers of which the benefits and negatives of the ban are examined.

The sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned in Scottish football grounds since 1980 – with the exception of hospitality areas – and there have recently been calls from supporters and politicians to explore the possibility of reintroducing drink for match-going fans.

Supporters Direct Scotland had previously suggested a trial period for the reintroduction of alcohol in Scottish football. This was a suggestion that had received a majority backing by participants in the organisations’ research paper.

Andrew Jenkin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland said: “It is clear that there should at least be a debate surrounding the issue of alcohol in Scottish football. Supporters Direct Scotland has previously suggested a trial period for any relaxing of regulations and our research shows that fans would be in favour of this.

There is a strong argument that restrictions on the sale of alcohol are actually detrimental to the safety and well being of supporters. When we examined the existing literature around the topic, there were several academics of the view that safety becomes jeopardised as fans rush through turnstiles in order to make kick-off from pubs and bars.

While we appreciate there are implications to consider, we feel there is enough demand to at least examine a trial of the provision of alcohol.

For the benefit of the game, supporters should be engaged in decision-making processes such as this. We as an organisation are more than happy to play our part in any dialogue between the decision makers and the supporters.”

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