Scottish football alcohol call dismissed

Scottish Justice secretary Michael Matheson. Picture: HeMedia

Scottish Justice secretary Michael Matheson. Picture: HeMedia

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NEW justice secretary Michael Matheson has dismissed calls from the head of the Scottish Football Association to permit the sale of alcohol at grounds.

Mr Matheson was reacting to a statement by the SFA chief executive Stewart Regan, who said he hopes to persuade police and government Scotland is now “a responsible nation”, and football fans have moved on from the troubles of the 1980s.

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Speaking at the first SFA convention this week, he pointed to Australia where sales of low-alcohol beer increased after being trialled at football matches.

Earlier at the convention, sport promoter Barry Hearn described the alcohol ban as “archaic” while lamenting the poor attendances at Scottish football matches.

But Mr Matheson, who replaced Kenny MacAskill two weeks ago, said he has “no plans to reintroduce alcohol to football stadiums”.

“This is an issue that was raised a couple of years ago by the SFA and by some of the senior football clubs in Scotland,” he told BBC Radio Scotland.

“But we have got no plans to change that, and even if there was any consideration of looking at this matter there would have to be a consultation with the police, other enforcement bodies and local authorities to consider the implications.”

But Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: “We are not in the same situation we were when alcohol was banned from the stadium. It’s also unfair that, if you pay £100 for a hospitality ticket you can enjoy a drink, but ordinary fans in the stands are denied this.”

SEE ALSO:

• Scottish football clubs back end to alcohol ban

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