Soccer to go dry for grand final

A MAN-MADE drought will hit Lismore's Crozier Field when Football Far North Coast imposes an alcohol ban for their Premier Division grand final on September 26.

It's believed to be the first time a major footballing code on the Northern Rivers has decided against selling alcohol at its premiership decider.

Far North Coast Rugby held their grand final at Crozier Field last Saturday and sold alcohol while the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League will hold their showpiece match at Maclean this Sunday with alcohol available.

FFNC general manager Steve Mackney said the decision had been made earlier this month with a number of contributing factors being considered.

“Much was in regard to Crozier Field; the venue and the related costs and benefits in regards to licensing requirements,” he said.

“Also the fact we have brought the match forward to 5pm. We believe in providing a strong family atmosphere without some of the problems that can come with the sale of alcohol.

“I acknowledge Northern United (Lismore rugby league club) have been the first to not sell alcohol at their games and that just confirmed the possibility in my mind that alcohol is not a pre-requisite for a successful sporting event.

“That was a very big move for them but it's worked out.

“We're not saying that all future grand finals will be without alcohol at this venue but we just believe, in the circumstances, it's appropriate.”

Mackney said the cost and the obligations of licensing, especially in relation to employing security, meant that alcohol sales generated little profit.

Northern United, which joined the local league competition this season, have not sold alcohol at any of their home games including a recent semi-final against Grafton.

The move has been praised by league administrators, Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell and State Government drug and alcohol policy makers.

The premier division soccer grand final is traditionally held at Oakes Oval but due to preparations for the Lismore Festival of Cricket which starts next week, the main Lismore ground has been closed since early August.

Mackney said the move by FFNC was not because of any crowd problems at previous grand finals.

Richmond Rovers have already moved into the grand final with their opponent to be decided this weekend between Goonellabah and Italo Stars.

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