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Brentford announce plans for standing at new ground

Brentford have confirmed plans to install barrier seats at the Brentford Community stadium for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The entirety of the new ground’s west stand and 1,700 seats in the away end will be converted to licensed standing areas next season, the club said this week.

Brentford’s decision follows on from a fan survey carried out in December 2021 in which 89% of fans indicated their support for the installation.

Alan Walsh, Brentford’s operations director, said, “It has always been our preferred option, since the move to the new stadium, to convert the west stand to safe standing if the legislation changed.

“The feedback we received from our fans in our recent survey endorsed that position so we are pleased to confirm that we have made the decision to proceed. We thank everyone who contributed to that consultation process.”

Brentford moved to their new all-seater ground back in September 2020 having been at Griffin Park since 1904, which was one of the few grounds with a traditional terrace still in place.

When the Bees were promoted to the Championship back in 2014, after a record-breaking promotion season in League One, they were then the only club with purpose-built standing areas in the division – their situation highlighted the illogical nature of outmoded all-seater legislation.

Gemma Teale, the safe standing representative from Brentford Independent Association of Supporters (BIAS) said the group was very happy with the club’s announcement.

“It’s great to see the club making good on its promise to bring safe standing to the west stand,” she said.

“Standing to watch a game has been a huge part of watching Brentford for so many fans over the years, so this is a really welcome step.”

In January this year the Government announced the first cohort of early adopters to run licensed standing areas in Premier League and Championship.

In total five clubs – Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – were the first in the top two tiers of football to have licensed safe standing in designated rail-seated and seated areas for home and away fans, as the Government works towards fulfilling its manifesto commitment.

Over the last two years the Sports Ground Safety Authority has been gathering evidence on standing areas and has concluded that standing is no less safe than seating where managed properly.
If the early adopters prove successful, the expectation is legislation would be widened to cover all stadiums in England’s top two divisions within the next few years.

Brentford will now be inviting applications for season ticket holders to join the standing section in the west stand ahead of sales opening later this week. Current season ticket holders who do not wish to be in the standing section will also be given an opportunity to move.

“Like everything we do at the stadium, the key to this being a success will be the co-operation between the fans, the authorities and the safety team here at Brentford,” Walsh said.

“The migration options during the season ticket renewal process will help to ensure that fans find the best spot available depending on their preferences and that we can continue to create an atmosphere to be proud of.”

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