§ Mr. Brazier
To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when the Football Licensing Authority will begin to issue licences; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Brooke
Licensing will be introduced in time for the start of the 1993–94 football season in August. Accordingly, section 9 of the Football Spectators Act, which creates the offence of admitting spectators to unlicensed premises, will be brought into force during the close season.
I also intend to use the powers conferred on me by section 11 of the 1989 Act to make an order ensuring that clubs in the Premier League and first division meet the August 1994 deadline for all-seater stadiums. I will therefore begin shortly the statutory consultations which will lead to the inclusion of seating requirements in next year's licences.
Initially, I intend to levy only a nominal fee of £100. The level of the fee will be kept under review, and is likely later to be raised to reflect more closely the full costs involved in determining the licence conditions.
The Government continue to support the principles of spectator safety and comfort as set out in the Taylor report. We remain firmly committed to the all seater requirement for the top two divisions, and to the implementation of safe terracing for those in the lower divisions that choose not to provide all-seating. The introduction of licensing will be a major step in achieving these aims.