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Female football fans have accused a club of a “gross invasion of privacy” after they were allegedly asked to show their bras during searches as they arrived to watch a match.
At least 10 visiting Grimsby Town fans had their bras checked by female stewards at Stevenage football club, a supporters’ group said.
They said they were asked to lift their tops in full view of male stewards and other men in the queue.
Some of the women said the female stewards also asked to feel their bras if they confirmed they were underwired, according to the Mariners Trust.
In an open letter of complaint to Stevenage FC, Chairman of the Mariners Trust Joe Wood said: “This act would effectively constitute a sexual assault.”
He added: “The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ [lift their tops] they were ‘reluctantly’ let in to the ground.”
The Grimsby Town supporters allegedly had their bras inspected by stewards before the club played against Stevenage FC at the Lamex Stadium on Saturday.
Paul Savage, vice-chair of the Mariners Trust, told the Guardian: “What we can’t understand as football supporters is why Stevenage football club have told their stewards to do this.
“It’s not a policing issue, it’s a football club issue – they’ve told their stewards to check people’s bras and we can only assume they’ve been given some intelligence to do that.
“You don’t have it at airports, so why would you have it at a football club?”
The Mariners Trust letter also claimed Stevenage FC stewards carried out full-body searches of children “as young as five” and the posting of a female steward in the male toilets, which raised “significant safeguarding issues.”
Stewards also confiscated fans’ possessions, including a bottle of hand sanitiser small enough to be allowed on an aeroplane, cough sweets and medicine, according to the letter.
Hertfordshire police said: “At this stage no allegations have been made to Hertfordshire Constabulary in relation to the actions of stewards at the football match. If any allegations are made to police these will be fully investigated.” A spokesman for Stevenage FC said the club is investigating,
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