NEW measures could be introduced to prevent drunken disorder at Junior football games.

North Ayrshire Licensing Board are seeking the views of clubs and authorities about the licensing of alcohol by the clubs in North Ayrshire.

The issue was first raised by the Licensing Forum in January as something which should be investigated by the Board.

Currently, Junior clubs can sell alcohol after obtaining an ‘occasional licence’ (OL) and can be prosecuted if they are caught trafficking booze without one.

But a number of Junior clubs say the timescale of obtaining an OL is difficult because of the short notice of fixtures.

The general sale of alcohol at professional football stadiums is banned in Scotland following the infamous Hampden riot at the 1980 Scottish Cup Final although it can be sold through corporate hospitality.

Junior football in North Ayrshire has been occasionally marred by crowd trouble between opposing sets of fans.

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And Police Scotland say a further restriction of alcohol will help reduce disorder in the long-term after over 60 people were involved in trouble at last Saturday’s game between Kilwinning Rangers and Beith Juniors.

The Licensing Board are now considering whether an OL should be reduced to an hour before and after the game, whether a ban on alcohol sale should be introduced during the and whether children should be allowed in the bar area.

Gordon Ronney, representing the North Ayrshire clubs, addressed the Board at it’s most recent meeting on Monday, April 18.

He said that the clubs recognised their role in the community and stated that the overall running of Junior football is much more professional.

Mr Ronney, who is secretary of Kilbirnie Ladeside and also sits on the Scottish Junior Football Association committee, said clubs bring in roughly £3,500 per year from the sale of alcohol, money that is much-needed to help their survival.

He said that accounted for around three per cent of the overall income of clubs.

A sensible approach, according to Mr Ronney, is taken at Kilbirnie when it comes to ‘major’ games by not selling alcohol.

But the police representative in attendance believed alcohol-related disorder was still a more pressing issue than money coming into clubs.

Mr Ronney said a restriction on the timescale for OL’s was necessary considering the late notice of fixtures.

Before continuing the matter for further consultation, Licensing Board Chair Councillor Ian Clarkson said: “I appreciate the work you are doing.

“We all have the same aim which is to tidy this area up. It’s a complex issue but we are determined that we will get it right.”