Ipswich Town campaign for beer drinking to return to stands. Accident waiting to happen?
Guzzling a beer in the stands whilst cheering on your team is very much a thing of the past. Or is it?
In response to the hooliganism that heavily stained British football culture three decades ago, a law was passed in 1985 to remove a fan’s right to drink alcohol in their seats or terrace.
A collection of clubs – led most notably by Ipswich Town – are set to challenge that law, arguing that modern football fans are wrongly tarred with the same brush as those of yesteryear. Would a return to booze signify fair equality with other sports or an irresponsible encouragement to violence?
The face of the campaign is Ipswich Town’s chief executive Simon Clegg. Once you get passed his rather loaded surname, it’s hard to argue against some of the man’s very persuasive points.
In a letter circulated at a Football League Championship meeting and addressed to the FA chairman David Bernstein, Clegg wrote: “Football fans continue to be treated differently to other supporter groups in British society.”
The letter – which has come to light this week – continues: “We feel that the times is right to review the current restrictions on alcohol in football stadia and consider whether such decisions could now not be delegated down to the local safety advisory group.
“We see the present climate as the perfect opportunity to relax these very restrictions, and allow our supporters to watch their team play whilst enjoying an alcoholic beverage.”
The question, of course, is, will fans be able to relax with a beer, or will that attention be distracted to the idiotic minority who might use alcohol to further fuel senseless acts of abuse and violence.
Perhaps that is inevitable but is it a risk worth taking? Do you actually need a drink to enjoy the game and do you find it patronising that the game can’t trust the life and soul of the game to behave?
Let us know your opinion in the comments section below.