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In trouble at the match over Christmas? Help is at hand

Christmas is a busy time for football fans with games coming thick and fast, and with those festivities often comes a lot of alcohol. The FSA’s Amanda Jacks (aka @FSA_Faircop) explains more…

With all that’s going on during the hectic fixture schedule we often see fans unintentionally falling foul of the law.

It’s important for supporters to know how restrictive the alcohol legislation around football can be, to help them stay out of trouble.

For instance, it’s illegal to drink on a minibus or coach to (or from) a game, illegal to drink in view of the pitch, illegal to take alcohol into a stadium, and illegal to enter a stadium drunk.

Train companies can insist trains are “dry” – sneak booze on board and you could be in trouble. If you’re travelling by coach to a game and stop on the way the Traffic Commissioner’s guidelines even state that alcohol can only be drunk if you’re eating a ‘substantial’ meal!

While we don’t agree with these laws we’d rather fans were aware of what could happen, as the consequences of not knowing can be serious.

Over the years we’ve seen many ordinary, respectable people – with clean records – caught out by football’s draconian laws and, when arrested, decline the use of a solicitor.

This is a big mistake that’s all too common. Always, always accept this offer, it’s free and the solicitor is unconnected to the police. It can make a huge difference to the outcome of your case.

While statistically the chances of you being arrested for an alcohol-related offence over Christmas are low, you could still be ejected or find yourself turned away at the turnstiles, or even prevented from travelling on your train home, if you appear to be drunk at the match.

Neither stewards nor police will breathalyse you if you’re suspected of being drunk, it is entirely at their discretion and, trust me, it’s very, very difficult to appeal that decision.

We think the legislation around football and alcohol is draconian but please remember that getting a criminal record can have an adverse impact on many aspects of your life, from job hunting to long-term football bans.

We’re not the fun police, alcohol is often part of matchday culture, but we’d rather fans understand the possible consequences of being a little too jolly when attending a football match over the festive season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Arrested and in need of legal support over Christmas? Email Amanda Jacks, call 07703 51955 or via Twitter @FSA_Faircop
  • Alternatively, you can also contact Football Law Associates round-the-clock for specialist advice and assistance: 07834 483092 or 0333 939 0063.

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