Police chief concerned over possibility of Bristol football fans being allowed to drink alcohol in their seats

Bristol City fans hold a banner reading Its good to be back during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Blackpool at Ashton Gate on August 7, 2021 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images) Bristol City fans hold a banner reading Its good to be back during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Blackpool at Ashton Gate on August 7, 2021 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Bristol City fans hold a banner reading Its good to be back during the Sky Bet Championship match between Bristol City and Blackpool at Ashton Gate on August 7, 2021 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s football lead has said that re-introducing drinking in the stands at football grounds would ‘fuel disorderly behaviour’

Potential plans to allow football fans in Bristol to drink alcohol whilst in their seats in football stadiums has been criticised by Chief Constable Mark Roberts.

This comes just weeks after Conservative MP Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review into the future of the game was given widespread support.

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Part of the review was to reinstate drinking in the seats of football grounds across the UK, something that fans have been unable to do since 1985.

But Chief Constable Mark Roberts of Cheshire Police believes allowing fans to drink in seats would be“irresponsible”.

He said: "This trend shows now is not the time to be having discussions about making big changes at football grounds, such as allowing fans to drink alcohol in their seats.

"It is evident there is a link between alcohol and many of these offences and one of the principal safety measures introduced by the Taylor report has already been unpicked by reintroducing standing areas.”

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Chief Constable Roberts added: "Allowing drinking in seats would fuel disorderly behaviour and is unnecessary as spectators are allowed to drink on concourses - to make this change would be irresponsible.

"Whenever there is a high-profile incident of disorder there are calls to clamp down and tackle the issues, which means taking sensible decisions about policy and legislation."

Bristol Rovers fans celebrate the goal scored by Peter Hartley during the EFL Cup second round match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images )Bristol Rovers fans celebrate the goal scored by Peter Hartley during the EFL Cup second round match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images )
Bristol Rovers fans celebrate the goal scored by Peter Hartley during the EFL Cup second round match between Chelsea and Bristol Rovers at Stamford Bridge on August 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images )

In September, Crouch toldthe Timeswhy she believed the way fans are forced to drink quickly in a short period at half time needs to be addressed.

She said: “Our view on alcohol and football is outdated.

“It’s not helped when you see scenes like we did at Wembley [At the final of Euro 2020]. But that’s why I would pilot it first. Let’s get the data.

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“My view is not some kind of altruistic view that fans should be able to drink at football. It’s also about allowing clubs to be able to sustain themselves.

"We can look at things like an independent regulator as part of this process. But football has to take a bit of responsibility for itself and sustain itself better.”

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