Talks On Football Drink Ban

20 February 2015, 09:04

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy is to meet football clubs and supporters' groups to discuss lifting the ban on alcohol at grounds.

Mr Murphy will also hear from representatives of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) at the summit at Hampden Park in Glasgow today.

Labour announced plans for a consultation on the issue at the weekend, with Mr Murphy arguing fans were ''paying for the sins'' of the 1980s.

The ban was initially imposed after a riot at the 1980 Scottish Cup final between Rangers and Celtic but alcohol can be served in corporate hospitality areas of football stadiums.

Celtic fan Mr Murphy, who is teetotal, argues football supporters should not be treated differently from those who enjoy corporate hospitality or rugby fans at Murrayfield, where drinking is permitted.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson first called for a review of the ban in September 2013.

Her party has carried out a survey of all clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League which suggests that 85% of the 26 clubs that responded want an end to the drink ban.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is ''far from convinced'' about removing it, warning against "taking a step backwards''.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Sir Stephen House has also said he would be "extremely concerned'' at any proposal to change the law, but that if a consultation finds public support for the idea police would enter into formal discussions with the footballing authorities.

The SFA has already been consulting with fans on the issue of whether alcohol should be sold at stadiums during matches and will also seek to gauge the views of the public and non-football fans.

Mr Murphy will be joined by Labour's justice spokesman Hugh Henry MSP at the summit.

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