Sport & recreation  |  29 Mar 2019

Drinking alcohol on the sidelines of Christchurch’s rugby league fields could be banned this winter.

Canterbury Rugby League (CRL) has asked Christchurch City Council to put alcohol bans in place for rugby league playing fields and adjoining car parks during the rugby league season.

A rugby league ball on grass.

Canterbury Rugby League is working to stop alcohol-fuelled incidents marring its games.

CRL has embarked on a broad programme to change the unhealthy alcohol-related culture within some sections of the rugby league community.

The ban will sit alongside a range of other initiatives which are aimed at making playing areas a safer environment for all park users.

CRL believes alcohol consumption on the sidelines has contributed to the problems experienced last winter when there were several incidents where spectators and match officials were verbally and physically abused.

Its request for temporary alcohol bans will be considered by the Council’s Regulatory Performance Committee when it meets on Wednesday 3 April.

In a report prepared for that meeting, Council staff are recommending the Council approve temporary alcohol bans on the 17 parks that CRL uses for its games.

The temporary alcohol 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 each week for training and from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday each weekend for matches.

CRL have sought the bans because of ongoing problems associated with spectators and club members drinking on the sidelines or in adjacent areas, the report says.

CRL consider that by creating alcohol bans for the rugby league fields, the clubs will be able to intervene early and prevent alcohol-fuelled incidents. At present, the clubs have no control over people involved in incidents who are not club members and volunteer administrators have been abused when they attempt to talk to ‘offenders’.

The report says Police support the proposed ban.

The Council’s Parks and Sport and Recreation staff also support the proposed ban and consider it will create a safer environment for all park users.

Read the full report.