Stevenage Football Club has come under fire after stewards reportedly forced female football fans to show them their bras.
Female fans have accused the club of a “gross invasion of privacy” after they were allegedly asked to lift their tops to show their bras during searches that took place in front of male fans and stewards.
The allegations came as Grimsby Town supporters gathered for the League Two away game at Stevenage. Further to these claims, some women also claim that the female stewards asked to feel their bras to confirm that they were underwired.
In an open letter of complaint to Stevenage Football Club, Jon Wood, Chairman of Grimsby’s Mariners Trust, the group that represents more than 3,000 Grimsby Town fans, said, “Several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards upon entry to The Lamex Stadium.”
“This decision – in the queue in front of other supporters, including men and male stewards – is a gross invasion of privacy.”
“Female supporters have also since contacted us to state they were asked by female stewards if they could feel their bras if they confirmed that they were underwired.”
“The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ they were ‘reluctantly’ let in to the ground.”
“This act would effectively constitute a sexual assault and these types of searches are unlawful.”
“If deemed necessary, although we cannot see how feeling an underwire in a bra could be deemed so unless acting on previous intelligence, then any fans in question should have been taken to a private area of the ground to be searched by a female steward rather than being searched in full view of male stewards, fans and police.”
“We are not aware at this stage that any previous intelligence contributed to these types of searches being implemented against female supporters.”
The club has received a number of complaints from fans and it is reported that there will be an internal investigation.
Stevenage General Manager, Bob Makin said the club was treating the “large number of complaints with the utmost seriousness.”