Beer snake blues

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

The Winnipeg Football Club is trying to snip this suds snake before it takes on a life of its own.

As a result of several minor injuries at last Friday’s home game against the Toronto Argonauts, the organization has issued a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to fan behaviour at Blue Bombers games.

Last week, the fans of Section S in Canad Inns Stadium created what is known as a beer snake — hundreds or maybe even thousands of empty beer cups stacked together to form a line that covered nearly the entire section, reaching into the upper level.

The injuries were suffered when the beer snake fell apart near the end of the game, showering many of the fans not involved. Fans also threw beer cups, hitting some fans and spilling their contents on others.

As a result, excessive drinking and unruly and/or illegal behaviour will result in ejection or prosecution of the offender.

“Whether it be plastic or steel, it is a weapon,” Bomber president Jim Bell said Wednesday. “And it can be harmful to the public.

“If we allow it to continue and somebody gets seriously injured — if that beer snake starts making its way to the upper grandstand and somebody leans over, that could be an awful, awful situation.”

Many have seen TV clips of fans falling from upper decks at other stadiums. Bell did not say so but the club could also be held legally responsible if someone did get hurt as the result of what seems like a relatively innocuous amusement.

“This is new,” Bell conceded. “But, to keep it from gaining momentum, we need to address it now.”

The club had received a number of complaints about the snake in the crowd and, if security sees “any hint” of such a snake being started, again it will ask fans to discontinue, Bell said.

“We respect the game-day experience and the safety of our fans and, as a result of that, we need to do something,” he said.

The zero-tolerance policy will also be applied to other events held at the Bomber-controlled Canad Inns Stadium, including concerts, and security may be added for Bomber games and other events. Anyone caught throwing things will also be escorted out.

The complaints the Bombers have received were not confined to the beer snake in Section S, Bell added.

The Bombers had already introduced new policies to improve the game-day experience before the current CFL season started.

Winnipeg next plays host to the Edmonton Eskimos on July 24.

— With files from Kirk Penton

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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