The ban of alcohol in view of the pitch at football matches and on supporter coaches is exacerbating crowd management issues at major sporting events, according to a government committee.
It’s a criminal offence in England to take alcohol to your seat in football stadiums and consume alcohol on coaches transporting supporters to matches.
Professor Geoff Pearson, Professor of Law, University of Manchester, stated, “The sporting events control of alcohol act which brought in both restrictions, in my view hasn’t worked. It drives fans that want to drink on to scheduled services and that means there is greater threat of conflict with the general public.”
The Government committee agreed at a hearing regarding fan disorder at major sporting events that a huge issue contributing to disorder at sporting events is the quality of stewarding.
Tony Burnett, Chief Executive, Kick It Out, stated, “The problem with stewarding at the moment is that it is a minimum wage job in many clubs. It is usually outsourced and the turnover of stewards is huge.”
There were 53 arrests at Wembley for the 2022 Men’s European Championship final, leaving fans scared, including disabled fans, women and children.
The committee agreed a lack of support and representation of different groups at sporting events lead to an exclusive environment and more trouble.
Owen Davies, Chief Executive, Level Playing Field, said, “We have seen two major events fail in the safety of disabled fans and other fans as well. We need that insight from disabled fans perspective at the planning and review stage.”