Humza Yousaf rules out return of alcohol to Scottish football

Humza Yousaf has ruled out a return of alcohol at Scottish football matches. Picture: John Devlin
Humza Yousaf has ruled out a return of alcohol at Scottish football matches. Picture: John Devlin
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Humza Yousaf has ruled out a reintroduction of alcohol at Scottish football grounds.

The justice secretary has refused requests from the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to review the ban, which has been in place for almost 40 years.

Yousaf’s predecessor Kenny MacAskill had previously sought to explore options that would see a rugby-style reintroduction of alcohol at grounds up and down the country.

Mr MacAskill successfully reintroduced alcohol to Scottish rugby grounds in 2007, after a similarly long hiatus.

There had been calls in recent months to lift the ban ahead of the European Championships in 2020. The tournament is to be held at several venues across the continent, including Glasgow’s Hampden Park.

The SFA’s chief executive recently told the BBC that the tournament “gives us the opportunity” to start “phasing” in alcohol sales once more.

However, speaking this week, Mr Yousaf is defiant at maintaining the decades-old ban.

“I have no absolutely no plans to look at that, I can assure you,” he said.

A blanket ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks at the nation’s football matches was put in place in the violent and bloody aftermath of the 1980 Scottish Cup Final, involving Celtic and Rangers.

The Scottish Government supported Mr Yousaf’s view.

A spokesman said: “There are no plans to remove the existing restriction on alcohol at football matches in Scotland.

“While we have not had any formal discussions with the Scottish FA on this specific matter, officials engage on a wide range of issues with the football authorities on a regular basis.

“We are aware that Uefa has made changes to allow local decisions to be taken on the potential provision of alcohol for matches in the Uefa Euro 2020 Championships.”

Crowd trouble continues to be a problem within Scottish football, particularly for high profile matches involving the bigger clubs.

Violence infamously marred Hibs’ Scottish Cup Final celebrations after they beat Rangers 3-2 in 2016.

And, more recently, police made a number of arrests before, during and after Hearts’ Betfred Cup Semi-Final clash with Celtic, played at Murrayfield last month.