Female football supporters were asked to show their bras to stewards before a match between Grimsby Town and Stevenage FC, a fan group has said.
The Mariners Trust, which represents over 3,000 Grimsby Town fans, made the allegation in an open letter written to Stevenage FC following Saturday’s fixture at the Lamex Stadium.
A representative for Stevenage FC told Elle UK it was ‘aware of the letter’ and is ‘investigating the matter’ before making any further comment.
In the letter, the group claimed that several female fans were asked to ‘lift their tops up to show their bras’ on entry to the stadium.
The trust added that although the checks were carried out by female stewards, they were ‘in full view of male stewards, fans and police’ and some fans wearing underwired bras were also asked by stewards if they could feel them.
The group has described the security checks as a ‘gross invasion of privacy’.
‘The supporters were made to feel uncomfortable and when they replied they would ‘rather not’ they were ‘reluctantly’ let in to the ground,’ the letter reads.
‘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 letter also claimed children as young as five were subjected to full body searches. The attitude of the stewards was labelled as ‘antagonistic’ and supporters were said to have had items such as hand sanitiser contact lens solution, cough sweets and medication confiscated on entry.
The Mariners Trust concluded by saying it is drawing attention to ‘a number of serious failings’ to ‘ensure no other visiting team’s supporters are treated as animals in the way your club did on Saturday.’