Alcohol sale laws could be loosened in lower leagues after fan-led review into English football

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The fan-led review of football governance has called for a series of small pilots to occur where alcohol can be sold in sight of the pitch at matches between clubs in the National League and League Two.

The review, which was published on Wednesday night, recommends the DCMS, Home Office, UK Football Policing Unit and other stakeholders should work together on the matter.

They use the example of London club Dulwich Hamlet, who play in the National League South, as an example of how alcohol sales can impact lower league sides’ revenue.

If promoted to the National League, Dulwich Hamlet would be unable to sell alcohol in view of the pitch, in line with The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985.

Evidence from the club to the Review stated that this would cost the club around 40 per cent of its income and that the club could therefore not afford to be promoted.

Comparative figures provided by the EFL of average spend on food and drink per head at rugby matches played in the same stadiums at EFL matches (where the Act does not apply) with the proceeds achieved at football matches suggest that the legislation costs football clubs roughly £2 per head each match.

If this is projected for a League Two average attendance of 4,000 across 23 home matches then approximately £184,000 is being lost per club, or £4,416,000 across the whole division.

The review is calling for the possible amending of the law to be explored “via a small scale pilot scheme at League Two and National League level carefully designed in conjunction with police advice”.

The Review adds: “In their evidence, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) said they would be supportive of any piloting of alcohol sales at National League level, but recognised that there would be significant push back from the police on pilots, and any move to reform the existing legislation.”

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