Football stadium ban gives smokers the blues over ban

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Goodison Park, the home of Everton FC, may become Britain's first smoke-free football stadium after the club announced yesterday that it was about to ban pre-match smoking in its 11 restaurants and hinted that a complete ban may follow.

Goodison Park, the home of Everton FC, may become Britain's first smoke-free football stadium after the club announced yesterday that it was about to ban pre-match smoking in its 11 restaurants and hinted that a complete ban may follow.

"We know we can't ignore the issue. We want to be pre-eminent in the campaign for better living," a spokesman for the club said. Everton is keen to fall in line with the city council's efforts to make Liverpool the UK's first smoke-free city.

The club's gradual move towards a no-smoking regime began last February, when a survey found 94 per cent of diners at the club were in favour of a smoking ban in restaurant lounges. Following a boardroom vote, pre-match light-ups were banned in three of the restaurant lounges.

Several clubs with new grounds, including Derby County and Middlesbrough, have introduced no-smoking areas, though no club has so far banned smoking completely - and outlawing it on concourse areas or in the stands would prove especially contentious. Everton said that it would introduce any ban gradually, and with full consultation.

Keith Wilson, the secretary of Everton Supporters' Club, said the club needed to be careful. He said: "There is nothing worse than sitting down to a meal and someone lighting up a fag - but it's a different thing in the stands.

"The working classes traditionally like their pint, pie and a fag at half-time. It would affect ticket sales if it was to go further. I reckon it would be about a 50/50 split for and against among the fans."

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