The EFL is looking into allegations from a Grimsby supporters’ trust that female fans were made to show their bras to stewards during security searches at Stevenage on Saturday.
The Mariners Trust has written to both Grimsby and Stevenage, the Football Association and a number of police forces following the alleged behaviour of stewards at the Lamex Stadium.
According to the group, several female supporters were asked to lift their tops up to show their bras to female stewards. A further claim said female stewards asked to check bras were underwired.
“This decision – in the queue in front of other supporters, including men and male stewards – is a gross invasion of privacy,” read the letter published on marinerstrust.co.uk.
“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.”
Full body searches were allegedly carried out by stewards on children as young as five years old while the Mariners Trust claims the presence of a female steward placed in the male toilets, also used by minors, raises “significant safeguarding issues”.
When contacted by Press Association Sport, organising body the EFL said it was looking into the allegations while Sky Bet League Two club Stevenage were not immediately available for comment.
Mariners Trust vice-chairman Paul Savage 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?
“Football fans get a bad press. There was no trouble, there were no arrests, nobody was chucked out of the ground. There was just a lot of bewildered and bemused and upset people.
“It wasn’t really until the game had finished and we all left when we thought ‘what on earth has just happened?’ and it all started to sink in.”
Stevenage won the League Two game 3-1.