Cambridge United football club have started using the Lion Alcoblow to test fans for alcohol consumption prior to entering the Abbey Stadium to watch a match.
The fans face being breathalysed as part of a new scheme to crack down on alcohol-related crime.
The Alcoblow unit, a rapid response instrument, is used simply to determine whether or not a person has any alcohol in their breath at all.
These tests were initially launched at Cambridge United’s match against Burton Albion towards the end of last season.
Anyone testing above twice the legal drink-drive limit will be rejected from entering the ground, but groundsman Ian Darler said fans had nothing to fear.
Only fans who appear to be drunk are tested and passing a breath test is not necessary to enter the ground.
Mr Darler said: “Ninety-five per cent of fans will not even know the scheme is in operation”.
Security staff at the venues have been given breathalyser kits consisting of the Lion hand-held Alcoblow unit allowing them to quickly and accurately test people before entry to the ground. The unit uses the Lion fuel cell sensor, so the reading is very unlikely to be affected by anything but alcohol in the football fan’s breath.
Lion Alcoblow is ideally suited for use in situations such as football grounds, factory or safety-critical establishments, nightclubs and other public venues where a large number of people have to be tested quickly, with the minimum of intrusion. There is no physical contact between the subject and instrument, so there is no mouthpiece to replace for each test.
Lion Laboratories are specialist market leading, manufacturers of high quality, calibrated products for the field of breath alcohol analysis. Lion supply much of the equipment used by the UK Police and export to over seventy countries worldwide.
Mr Darler said stewards had previously made a judgement on people they thought were drunk.
“This will give a fairer and more genuine result as to whether we eject someone,” he said.
He added that only two arrests had been made at games this year.
The scheme is funded by Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright.
Last year, in Cambridge city, 141 people were arrested for being drunk and disorderly or drunk and incapable in a public place.
Sgt Ian Wood said there were a number of alcohol-related laws around sporting events, including an offence of trying to enter a sports ground while drunk.
He said: “My concern is fans will be unaware of these offences. I hope the introduction of the devices will help stewards make empowered decisions about who should enter the ground.”
Anyone turned away from a venue will be offered a scratchcard giving information about their drinking risk levels.