Football fans overwhelmingly support safe standing areas but it’s vital that clubs do too. 22 clubs in England and Wales now back the campaign along with the entire Scottish Premier League.
The Tykes said: “Barnsley Football Club work tirelessly to make Oakwell Stadium a ‘supporter friendly stadium’. We recognise that some of our supporters would like to stand at our games in a safe and controlled environment.
“Having such areas would alleviate the main problem faced by our stewards on matchdays, where large numbers of supporters stand up to the detriment of those wanting to remain seating.
“We therefore happily lend our support to the Football Supporters’ Federation in calling for trials of all types’ of safe standing areas and look forward to both the Government and the football authorities recognising and implementing such trials.”
Below left – Safe standing ‘rail seats’ in Klagenfurt (Austria).
Below right – Bob Symns (chief executive, Peterborough United – middle row, centre) and representatives of Peterborough City Council with Jon Darch (Safe Standing Roadshow) and Hannover 96 staff among rail seats in the AWD Arena (Germany).
Why does the FSF back safe standing?
The FSF represents more than 200,000 individual and affiliate members throughout England and Wales and tries to fairly reflect fans’ opinion across a whole range of issues. Safe standing is one of the most commonly raised.
Survey after survey (see #2) shows that the majority of fans back the choice to sit or stand and safe standing can be introduced within stringent safety standards laid down in the Government’s Green Guide.
In the words of Professor Steve Frosdick, safety expert and founder member of the Football Safety Officers’ Association, “I think they’ve [the FSF] got an irrefutable case to allow clubs and fans the choice of having rail seating.”
Safe standing areas can also help make stadiums more socially inclusive places. In England and abroad prices in standing areas are typically lower than seats. Safe standing areas can simultaneously raise revenue for clubs and lower prices for fans.
The Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) was contacted last night by the Sports Ground Safety Association (SGSA), who told us that the option for football clubs to offer licensed standing at all levels of the game in England and Wales has at last been passed into official Government policy.