Why safe standing should be brought to the Premier League and Championship

Ever since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 all grounds in the Premier League and the Championship had to be all-seater stadiums but many match-going supporters still prefer to stand at games whether it be for personal preference or to create a better atmosphere. Safe standing has been a talking point for years among football fans, so we’ve had a look at the impact of safe standing elsewhere and thought about our reasons for why safe standing should be brought to the Premier League.

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It has worked elsewhere

In July 2016 Celtic became the first club in Britain to introduce a safe standing section in their stadium, which contained enough rail seats to accommodate 2600 supporters after years of talks and negotiations between fans, the football authorities and Glasgow Council. This has been a huge success and the atmosphere at Celtic Park (despite being very impressive already) absolutely brilliant as supporters have been provided with a safe section for them to stand throughout the game and generate a more intense atmosphere.
As well as in Britain safe standing is very successful in Europe, with Germany being the best example. Despite many people thinking it is illegal to persistently stand at football games, that isn’t the case as FIFA and UEFA’s regulation is that grounds must be all-seater stadiums with seats that can be folded up or down depending on the game that is being played. This can be seen in Germany with clubs such as Borussia Dortmund and Hannover who’s stadiums have bolt-on seats which are down for European games, and folded up for domestic games.

Fans will stand regardless of whether it is safe

Despite not having appropriate areas or seats for standing, many supporters stand throughout games anyway regardless of whether it is safe or not. Almost every football away section in the UK will consist of all supporters standing up in order to create an atmosphere at the match and get behind their team with some sections of home fans also standing in various parts of the ground such as the Kop at Anfield and the Stretford End at Old Trafford. Considering that there will be football fans that will always stand up, you might as well focus on keeping them safe as there have been many situations where standing football fans have been injured at the games, one example being a Cardiff City fan which was knocked unconscious while celebrating a goal away at Reading. Safe standing is self-explanatory, if introduced these instances where supporters are injured while be prevented and they will be able to stand and support their team without worrying about their safety.

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People have voted in favour of it

In 2018 a petition was signed by over 100,000 people asking for Premier League and Championship clubs to have safe standing areas in their stadiums with many clubs themselves voicing support for the petition. It’s not just a small minority of fans that are wanting this change as fans from pretty much every club are in favour of the change, whether it be singing petitions or voicing thoughts and opinions on social media.

It has been trialed in the Premier League and League 1

In August 2018 Shrewsbury Town became the first EFL club to bring in a safe standing section, providing 550 fans with a safe place to stand whilst watching the game, with there as of yet being no issues or problems with the section. More recently, Wolves became the first Premier League team to introduce safe standing when they introduced rail seats in some parts of Molineux, and despite Wolves only introducing the rail seats at the start of the 19/20 season there is as of yet no problems or issues that have arisen from the section. It’s still early days for safe standing trials in England, and it will be different for clubs with bigger stadiums and attendances, but it’s what many football fans are crying out for, and it’s something that we think should be introduced and made available for all Premier League and Championship clubs.

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