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Councillors approve alcohol sales at Horsfall Stadium
9:00am Friday 17th August 2012 in Sport
Bradford Park Avenue Football Club has retained its licence to sell alcohol despite accusations from the police of drunken disorder and supporters taking glass bottles into the grounds.
However, a string of extra conditions have been placed on the licence which must be introduced at Horsfall Stadium, including installing a CCTV system to cover the bar and outside drinking area.
It also emerged that without a licence Park Avenue’s promotion could have been in jeopardy as a clubhouse with a bar is necessary to play in the higher division. The team’s debut in the Conference North takes place tomorrow against Worcester City at home.
During the hearing yesterday club bosses Bob Blackburn and Kevin Hainsworth disputed the police version of events, saying they were not aware of any trouble at the match in May against FC United of Manchester.
They were also not aware of any glasses or bottles leaving the bar.
Mr Hainsworth dismissed police allegations of the club putting profit before safety, describing how extra stewards had been drafted in at their expense and they also dropped the number of tickets on offer from 3,000 to 2,000.
PC Su Dawson, Bradford South police licensing officer, told the hearing she had inspected the club twice before and found breaches of the club certificate, then later the licence, following complaints that there appeared to be no control over the running of the bar.
At the play-off match she said the mood of the crowd changed as the match went into extra time so the police wanted to cut off the alcohol supply to prevent any disorder. She said Mr Hainsworth refused to close the bar voluntarily and that officers stepped in to close it down.
She accused club bosses of “failing to comprehend the seriousness of the potential for disorder”.
However, Mr Hainsworth told Bradford licensing panel: “I was very disappointed with the decision to close the bar, not from a profiteering perspective, but to me it seemed very heavy-handed and not required.”
After the hearing he said “common sense had prevailed” and the club was happy to comply with the extra conditions.
In deciding not to revoke the club’s licence, panel members warned they had serious concerns about the allegations of licence breaches and of a lack of co-operation with the police.
Councillor John Ruding , chairman of the panel, said if a review was sought again it would give serious consideration to suspending the club’s licence.