Scottish Football Fans back lifting of alcohol ban

Football fans would like to join rugby fans in being able to enjoy alcohol during matches. Picture: AP
Football fans would like to join rugby fans in being able to enjoy alcohol during matches. Picture: AP
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ALMOST two thirds of Scottish football fans want to see the ban on alcohol at games lifted, a new study has found.

The majority of fans would also like safe standing areas to be introduced in grounds and supporters represented at board level at their clubs.

The Supporters Direct Scotland National Football Survey of almost 3,000 fans found almost 62 per cent were in favour of lifting the alcohol ban.

However, the majority of women who responded were against ending the restriction.

Alcoholic drinks were banned at football games following rioting during the Scottish Cup final in 1980.

When asked if they thought the ban had been successful in reducing crowd disorder, almost half of participants thought it had. Nearly three-quarters were in favour of the introduction of a small-scale trial.

The study also found nearly 91 per cent of participants were in favour of seeing safe standing areas being introduced.

Of those who do not attend games regularly, almost half said they would be more likely to go to matches if they had the choice to stand.

Paul Goodwin, head of Supporters Direct in Scotland, said: “It is important for every business to understand what its customer base wants and football is no different. The Scottish FA recognises this and their increased support for the work we do is welcomed.

“The survey has confirmed much of what we were aware of already through our regular discussions with supporters’ trusts across the country, but there were some very interesting new insights on views of the alcohol ban and the safe standing discussions.

“What did come through strongly is that there is an ­increasing confidence among fans about the future of the game in Scotland and that there is clear progress being made on changing the game for the ­better.”

The survey was conducted in association with the Scottish FA, with the results announced at the Supporters Direct Scotland annual conference in Stirling yesterday.

It found that more than 93 per cent of those questioned believe supporters should be represented in their club’s boardroom. More than 91 per cent believe the fan ownership model can work in Scotland.

The survey also showed that 61 per cent of supporters believe a change of season dates to March-to-November would benefit the game.

Some 56.5 per cent are confident the national team will qualify for Euro 2016.

While most participants felt Scottish football does not have a problem with racism or homophobia, 84 per cent believed the game has a problem with sectarianism.

Stewart Regan, Scottish FA chief executive, said: “The National Football Survey covered a wide range of topical issues and the conference provides a great opportunity for people with an interest in the game to hear and discuss the findings.

“It’s important that we take opportunities like this to listen to supporters and take on board their views on issues relating to Scottish football.”

The conference at Stirling University was attended by fans, people working in the game, media figures and academics.