A booze ban on the sidelines at rugby league games this season is a step closer.
A temporary alcohol ban has been proposed during games and training at 20 parks used by Canterbury Rugby League after three assaults last season as well as several incidents where spectators and match officials were verbally abused.
Yesterday, a city council committee unanimously voted in support of the draft bylaw. It will now go to the city council for a decision to be made.
CRL chief executive Duane Fyfe said the decision was “a positive step for our endeavours to improve sideline behaviour.”
“This will enable our clubs to be able to control sideline behaviour from members of the public that arise with alcohol. It will potentially reduce the amount of sideline abuse towards players and match officials. This will help our clubs to ensure we promote a family-friendly environment, which is what they want to do,” Mr Fyfe said.
If approved, the alcohol ban will be imposed at 20 parks, including changing sheds, car parks and playgrounds during the league season from March 1 to September 30.
The bans would apply only during the time that games and training are taking place. The maximum period the ban would apply would be from 3pm to 8pm, Monday to Friday, for training and from 9am to 6pm, Saturday and Sunday.
City councillor and regulatory performance committee chairman Jamie Gough said it was a “very logical decision.”
He said the issue wasn’t about the “fun police being out in force.”
“If people want to enjoy a beer in a sporting environment, then they are most certainly welcome to do this at the pub, at home or in the clubrooms.”
He said it is unclear whether the ban may extend to other sports.
“The regulatory framework in local government is quite conservative and risk-averse by nature. So you can’t just put bans in place . . . you would have to have good cause and good reason to.”
In a submission to the city council, CRL capability and game manager George Lajpold said 70 per cent of clubs were dealing with alcohol-related behaviour on the sideline, which was happening both at a junior and senior level.