Football policing chief says beer at games is ‘absolutely the wrong thing to do’

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, football policing chief, has said beer at matches is "absolutely the wrong thing to do" following a fan-led review.

Conservative MP Tracey Crouch had chaired a fan-led review that recommended a series of small-scale pilots allowing the sale of alcohol in sight of the pitch. These pilots were earmarked to take place at a selection of League Two and National League clubs.

It is currently illegal for fans to drink in sight of the pitch from the fifth-tier National League upwards. But Chief Constable Roberts has slammed the suggestion – citing alcohol as a “perennial driver” of poor behaviour in football.

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He said: "I’ve been very consistent, I’ve never thought it was appropriate. We have a relationship with alcohol in this country which leads to poor behaviour. I’ve been unequivocal in my statements and in my representations to Government that (a pilot) is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

“I question the evidence that underpins the recommendation from the Crouch review. What is the evidence base? When you speak to fans, the vast majority I speak to are generally pretty happy with having a drink before the game, at half-time and after the game.

“If you can’t go 45 minutes without a drink you’ve probably got a problem."

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In April, the Government responded to the fan-led recommendation: "The Government recognises the potential commercial benefits that a change in this regard could bring for clubs, particularly lower down the football pyramid.

"But this must be balanced against wider fan safety considerations."

However, it also noted alcohol consumption as a “key driver” of the anti-social behaviour seen at the Euro 2020 final.


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