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Research into alcohol at Scottish football matches shows signs of support

Scottish Conservatives

An overwhelming majority of Scottish football clubs support the idea of allowing fans to drink alcohol at football matches, research by the Scottish Conservatives has found.

After writing to every professional club in the country, 88 per cent who responded said they wanted to see anti-drinking laws relaxed, and were open to a pilot scheme.

And of the 17 who have responded so far from across all four divisions, only two said they had concerns.

But today at First Minister’s Questions, Alex Salmond said he was not keen on allowing a trial scheme.

The Scottish Conservatives have appealed for football fans to be allowed to drink before matches and during half-time, in the same way they are able to in countries like England, Germany and Spain.

Other sports, such as rugby, allow alcohol at fixtures in Scotland, and lifting the drink ban would help cash-strapped clubs earn some extra income, while boosting the matchday experience of tens of thousands every week.

Alcohol was banned at games after rioting in the 1980 Scottish Cup Final, but it is widely acknowledged that the sport and conduct of spectators have moved on greatly since then.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:

“Supervised, responsible drinking happens in other sports in Scotland and with football in other countries.

“Are we really saying that Scottish football fans cannot be trusted?

“I’ve written to every senior club in Scotland to canvass opinion, as well as to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland to discuss any security concerns.

“Of the clubs that responded to our survey, 88 per cent were clearly in favour of a pilot project to see if the ban can be lifted.

“I support Dunfermline, the First Minister supports Hearts; we both know what it is like to see our teams financially struggle.

“Properly supervised alcohol in stadia could be an important new revenue stream for Scottish clubs.

“All-seater grounds and extra measures address some of the safety fears of the past, when this ban was brought in.

“Why not try a pilot project to see if what we know works well elsewhere can work here too?

“The fans want it, the clubs want it and it is in everybody’s interest to make any relaxation of the rules work.”

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