Football policing chief says wild Boxpark celebrations among ‘many’ reasons for alcohol ban in stands

Football policing chief says wild Boxpark celebrations among ‘many’ reasons for alcohol ban in stands

Football policing chief Mark Roberts said fans could get a “lager shampoo” if the ban on drinking alcohol in stands is lifted.

It is currently prohibited to drink alcohol in view of the pitch, but there are calls to overturn the law which has been in place 36 years.

Roberts rejected the suggestion that doing so would stop fans turning up late to stadiums and binge drinking, saying it would cause “more problems”. And the chief constable also cited locations like BOXPARK that see drinks wildly thrown in the air when a goal is scored.

“I don't accept the argument at all," he said while giving evidence at a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee hearing.

“People would still drink to excess outside, but then arrive and carry on drinking. And so you'd afford them 90 minutes extra time to drink. And more alcohol causes more problems.

“You'd have that many problems, they'd have to pay for more police in stadiums to deal with the issues. You then have the issues of people throwing beer in the air, which you see all the time at BOXPARK and the like.

“So if you're there with the family, and every time a goal goes in you get a lager shampoo, it doesn't make it conducive to going.”

Meanwhile, Roberts does not expect a widespread postponement of Premier League games for the King's coronation next year.

The ceremony for Charles is due to take place in London on Saturday, May 6, which will clash with a full round of football fixtures.

“Hopefully not, it was remarkable only two games were cancelled last time,” Roberts, the UK's football policing lead, said.

“We have clearly got a period of planning now. It may be if there are particular fixtures in London which coincide with the coronation, but we have got the time now to sensibly reflect and make plans because it worked really well for the funeral.

“We had a very good dialogue with the Premier League and FA last time around and were able to meet everyone's objectives of not putting an over burden on the police.

“It will be a decision for the Metropolitan Police. Clearly there will be a massive mutual aid from all around the country to support the operation as there was last time.

“Hopefully it won't impact on it but it will have to be viewed on a game-by-game basis. If it comes to that we hope there is some flexibility on the fixtures and just put them on a different day.”

Additional reporting by PA.