Alcohol – what are the rules?

The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 prevents:-

  • drunken entry into a football ground (which, in practice, to be an arrestable offence includes disorderly behaviour);
  • the consumption of alcohol within view of the playing area including, during the restricted period (15 minutes before the start of the event to 15 minutes after the end of the event), rooms within the ground from which the event may be directly viewed;
  • the consumption of alcohol on certain coaches, trains and motor vehicles travelling to a designated football match;
  • the possession of fireworks or flares.

The Act applies to the following sporting events:-

  • Association football matches in which one or both of the participating teams represents a club which is for the time being a member (whether a full or associate member) of the Football League, the Football Association Premier League, the Football Conference National Division, the Scottish Football League or Welsh Premier League, or represents a country or territory.
  • Association football matches in competition the Football association Cup (other than in the preliminary or qualifying round).

The Act only applies in England and Wales.

The Act does not apply at grounds where a match is being watched on a screen as part of a ‘beam back’.

To view the full test of the Statutory Instrument which designates the classes of sports grounds and sporting events to which the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 applies click here.

Check the regulations

Which parts of a ground should be covered by a Safety Certificate?

The terms and conditions of the safety certificate should cover all areas to which the spectators have access, including restaurants, licensed bars, and concourses.

About Designated Grounds

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 the local authority is responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificate in respect of a sports ground designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

What is a Safety Certificate?

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan or London boroughs are responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificates in respect of any sports ground in their area which has been designated by the Secretary of State.

Legislation related to Policing

Responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with ground management. However, at certain sports grounds and for certain matches or events the presence of the police may be required to maintain public order. This page provides relevant information from legislation relating to policing in sports grounds.

Tools and resources

Preventing Crowd Disorder and Anti-Social Behaviour

Guidance is available from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) on preventing crowd disorder and anti-social behaviour at sports grounds.

Guidance

What is the Statement of Intent?

If there is to be a police presence in or at the sports ground, management should discuss with the police the division of responsibilities and functions between the two parties; for example, whether particular tasks are to be undertaken by stewards or by police officers, and who will assume responsibility in particular circumstances. The outcome of these discussions should be recorded in a written and signed statement of intent.