The Live Music Forum

Hamish Birchall Bulletin


Tuesday 9th May 2006 - Sheffield: Chinese dance statement

Sheffield City Council has just issued a statement (below) about the unlicensed Chinese Lion Dance on the pitch at Sheffield United's match on 30 April 2006. The council is advising all their sports stadia to vary their premises licences to allow 'incidental' entertainment on the pitch. Licence fees are linked to rateable value of the premises.

The Bramall Road stadium is in the constituency of Richard Caborn MP, Minister for Sport. Sheffield City Council statement issued 09 May 2006:


'The terms of the new Licensing Act are less flexible than was the case previously. Under the new Act, regulated entertainment with certain exceptions requires a licence, but Morris dancing or dancing of a similar kind is exempt. Whether the Lion Dance could be viewed as falling under this exemption is a grey area that can ultimately only be tested in a court of law.

'So Sheffield City Council has taken the common sense approach of advising Sheffield United Football Club to apply to vary their licence to include all incidental entertainment on the pitch. This removes any question of doubt and we are recommending that all sports stadia do the same. The cost of the variation is dependent upon the rateable value of the premises.'Steve Lonnia, Licensing General Section, Sheffield City Council'

Contrast that with statements made by Richard Caborn when he was licensing minister in a letter to the Joint Committee on Human Rights dated 30 June 2003:

'... In terms of its general impact, the [Licensing] Bill will therefore not present increased regulation but will instead involve a significant move towards greater simplicity, transparency and reduction in costs.'

'Scrutiny of Bills and Draft Bills: Further Progress Report', p25, 'Appendix 2: the Licensing Bill', JCHR 15th Report of 2002/3, 21 July 2003, HL 149, HC 1005, ISBN 0104002689. PDF copy:

Hamish Birchall