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Dear politicians – why discriminate against football fans?

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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Drink your pint in sight of the pitch and there’s a good chance you’ll feel the long arm of the law. If you’re, say, a rugby or cricket fan, no such rules apply. Is it time for this to change? Anthony Davison is an Oxford United fan and says he’ll give his vote to the next politician who commits to changing this unequal law (see his e-petition here)…

Dear politicians,

I intend to vote at the next general election for whichever party vows to amend the outdated Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol) Act 1985 to allow local licensing authorities to decide when and where alcohol can be served at football matches.

I am “lucky” enough to regularly watch Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium from an executive box. At 2.45 the staff apologetically pull across a curtain to prevent me from drinking alcohol in view of the pitch. However, I recently watched London Welsh from exactly the same seat where this was not the case.

This is plainly ridiculous for the following reasons:

  • Anti-competitive – this clearly gives London Welsh an unfair competitive advantage over Oxford United in their sales of hospitality and sponsorship packages in Oxfordshire;
  • Discriminatory – this discriminates against football fans and reeks of class bias;
  • Outdated – football has changed beyond all recognition. I do not think for one second that football clubs will still be dragging across a curtain in 30 years time. At some point, this crazy law will change, it just takes someone with the will to change it.

I am not suggesting that all fans should have unlimited access to beer at all times but surely the local authorities are best placed to decide which games and which areas restrictions should apply? Football clubs as the licensee would still have the ultimate say on who is served.

I cannot be alone in thinking that this law needs to change. I suggest that this could be a policy which would appeal to millions of voters up and down the country.

In the event that more than one party vows to change this law, I will vote for the first person to reply.

Kind regards,
Anthony Davison

  • Anthony’s launched an e-petition calling on this law to be overturned, you can sign it here.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed are those of the author and they don’t necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.

Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this blog.

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