A welcome change or a recipe for disaster? This is what you said about Sunderland fans drinking in seats at the Stadium of Light
More than two-thirds of punters think drinking should be allowed in the stands while watching a Football League match.
The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) is calling for change to the current rules, which they say are "draconian", banning supporters from drinking alcohol in view of the pitch. The Echo understands that Sunderland AFC is among clubs who would like to see the issue debated further, so we asked you if you think it should be allowed. More than 2,634 of you took part in an online poll, with an overwhelming 68% of you backing the idea.
Other clubs are also thought to be giving their support to the change - saying it would signal fairer treatment for football fans, and provide a better match-day experience.
The Stadium of Light has hosted a number of concerts in recent years, including Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and the Foo Fighters. Here, crowds have been able to enjoy a drink on the terraces. Fans attending rugby and cricket matches are also permitted to drink in view of the game.
While the poll showed readers' support for a possible pilot scheme, many of you voiced concerns with how this would impact on children who go to the football, and how queues at a ground would be affected.
Here is what you had to say about the idea on the Sunderland Echo Facebook page:
Syd Hutchinson: "A very simple no, it's a football match not a bar and the last thing I want is for my enjoyment of the game spoilt by having to get up for people who can't go 45 minutes without beer."
John Jenkins: "I’m not sure I actually agree, even though I personally would like it. Football isn’t like rugby or other sports. There’s a lot more yob culture in football. Being able to sink pints down all game might not be a good idea! Be interesting to see how a trials goes!"
Tom Cruikshanks: "Maybe not have the bar on. But you should at least be able to take your pint from before the game and half time to your seat and enjoy it instead of chugging it in 30 seconds flat."
Paul Walton: "Anyone arguing about rugby and cricket fans being allowed need to understand that there’s on average three maybe four goals a game. Everyone would be soaked after every goal. Rugby and cricket are high-scoring games where a point or try doesn’t mean as much as a goal in football. There’s nothing wrong with the way it is. Leave it alone."
Anth Topping: "Of course it should be allowed, at every other sport in the country you can drink and watch the sport in question but not football!"
Paul Summerside: "I like a drink like most folk, but drinking in seats at a footy match is a recipe for disaster. Pre-match and half time is fine."
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Paul Uttley: "Imagine taking your kids and your team score and you end up with beer showered all over you, no thanks, wouldn't want me and my kids going home smelling like a brewery."
Mike Littisore: "Is it necessary to allow drinking inside the ground? Just look around, most fans meet up with each other in the pubs before the game; now they don't just meet up and leave the pub, they have a beer or three before going on to the game, so they've already been drinking (though are hopefully sober) before entering the ground and many will continue drinking when they leave the ground after the game. For me it's a no."
Tris Ryan: "Genuinely surprised at how many are saying no. We can drink at games in Australia, there's a family area which is dry for those concerned about kids etc. You do get the occasional idiot, but that happens regardless."
Deborah Riley: "As an ex-safety steward, this will cause more trouble than it's worth. Football fans have a different culture when it comes to drinking. It should stay as it is, want a drink - go to the pub."
Craig Thompson: "I'm a football fan, season ticket holder, I don't think footy fans in general are sensible enough to do this, you will get the odd hand full of people who'll spoil it. Don't fancy going home soaked in beer."
Julie Nicklin: "Ridiculous idea they have enough before and after so throughout would be stupid. I'm quite happy going down at half time for my pint."
Kirsty Coates: "No. I love my football and love a pint at the match ... but please don't do it. More be more trouble than its worth!"
Steve Cowans: "Been to lots of rugby games where it’s allowed and never seen any problems. No queues. All good for me."
Steven Ashett: "Yes but have zones where those who don’t want to risk a soaking can sit."
Cllr Stephen O'Brien: "I don't see why this shouldn't happen, you can do it in rugby and cricket."
Ian Donaldson: "They are able to do it in other countries."