SCOTTISH football fans have backed a pilot scheme that would test the possibility of ending the nationwide ban on alcohol in football stadiums, but stopped short of supporting a full-scale return to alcohol in stadiums.
• New poll shows cautious welcome for proposal of pilot scheme enabling fans to drink alcohol in one SPL ground on match day
• Respondents reject calls for full-scale lifting of alcohol ban in place since 1980
Sixty-four per cent of respondents identifying themselves as fans said they would support a pilot in which the ban was lifted at one SPL club for a limited period, while 56 per cent of non-fans also agreed.
But the majority of both fans and non-fans polled by the Daily Record rejected suggestions that alcohol should be introduced back into Scottish football in stadiums on match days.
When asked whether clubs should be allowed to sell alcohol to fans inside stadiums on match days, 52 per cent of fans said no, with 43 backing the move. Only 33 per cent of non-football fans polled agreed with the move, while an overwhelming 60 per cent rejected the idea.
Poll respondents - both fans and non-fans - said that selling alcohol at stadiums would lead to more crime and disorder. Both also overwhelmingly agreed that limits should be imposed on drinking if the ban was to be lifted.
Stewart Gilmour, St Mirren chairman, welcomed renewed discussion on the topic, and backed a pilot for smaller clubs to allow alcohol to be served.
“There is no doubt that football fans are negatively categorised and the actions of the very few can define the whole.
“I would be very happy to be involved in the debate about licensing within football grounds and I’d be delighted to discuss with my board, police and licensing bodies. I’d also welcome any input from fans.”
He added: “It’s a numbers game. It might be OK for St Mirren to send 1,000 fans to Motherwell and if around five per cent had a bit more to drink than we’d like, the problem would probably not be too significant.
“If a club like Celtic or Rangers sent 10,000, if’s a different situation.”
Gilmour said that revenue from alcohol sales would also be helpful to smaller clubs.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has already backed a lifting of the ban, imposed in 1980, while ex-Labour minister Brian Wilson added his support to the calls for a pilot scheme.
Are you a football fan?
Yes 61%, No 39%
Should football clubs be allowed to sell alcohol to fans inside stadiums on match days?
Non-fan - Yes 22%, No 60%, Don’t know 7%
Fan - Yes 43%, No 52%, Don’t know 5%
Would selling alcohol at matches cause more crime or disorder?
Non-fan - Agree 70%, Disagree 18&, Don’t know 12%
Fan - Agree 64%, Disagree 23%, Don’t know 13%
Former Labour minister Brian Wilson said that the ban is “class law” discrimination against working people.
Do you agree?
Non-fan - Yes 28%, No 58%, Don’t know 14%
Fan - Yes 37%, No 50%, Don’t know 13%
If the ban is lifted, should there be a limit on how much fans are allowed to drink?
Non-fan - Yes 81%, No 13%, Don’t know 5%
Fan - Yes 78%, No 17%, Don’t know 5%
Would you support a pilot project in which the ban is lifted at one SPL stadium on a trial basis for a limited period?
Non-fan - Yes 56%, No 34%, Don’t know 10%
Fan - Yes 64%, No 30%, Don’t know 6%
Football fans cannot be trusted to drink in stadiums
Agree 64%, Disagree 19%, Don’t know 17%
The ban on alcohol at football is essential for public safety
Agree 78%, Disagree 12%, Don’t know 10%