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Burnley and Watford back Safe Standing Campaign

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and Supporters Direct merged to become the FSA in 2019 – so this page may contain hyperlinks that do not work and/or have missing files. Our archived pages are not maintained and will not be updated.

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Burnley and Watford are the latest clubs to back the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Safe Standing Campaign – a big well done to the Clarets and the Hornets. The two clubs follow hot on the heels of Aston Villa, Brentford, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Hull City, Peterborough United, AFC Wimbledon and the Scottish Premier League.

Burnley chief executive Lee Hoos said that rail seats had merit and could provide a suitable way to satisfy the demand for safe standing accommodation. Watford’s operations director Glyn Evans said that the club recognised that many supporters preferred to stand while watching football in a safe environment. Both backed the FSF’s call for pilots of safe standing areas at specific grounds.

Lee Hoos said: “As a club that listens closely to its fans, Burnley FC is aware from representations made by members of its Football Consultative Committee and from discussions the Clarets Trust that many supporters would like the club and the sport in general to take a closer look at the concept of safe standing.

“While we must emphasise that persistent standing in all-seater stadia such as Turf Moor is against ground regulations, we recognise that a not insignificant number of our fans prefer to watch football standing. Having studied the ‘rail seat’ concept, we believe that this has merit and may provide a suitable way to enable clubs such as ours to satisfy the demand for safe standing areas in the future.

“We therefore support the Football Supporters’ Federation in calling on the government to permit a few small-scale trials of such to determine, if successful, the criteria under which we maybe be able to introduce safe standing at Turf Moor at a future date.”

The FSF backs Roger Godsiff MP’s Early Day Motion (EDM) 573 which calls for the introduction of a pilot of new standing technology in football stadia. The EDM references widespread support from fans and notes that new technology and rigorous safety standards mean that standing areas can be safely introduced into the Premier League and Championship.

Watford’s Glyn Evans said: “Watford strives to enhance our supporters’ matchday experience and we recognise that being able to stand whilst watching matches in a safe and controlled environment is something that some of our supporters wish to return to.

“Despite the best efforts of our stewarding operation it is impossible to get all supporters to sit down throughout a match and when a mass of supporters decide to stand there really is little that can be done with the result that everyone has to stand to get a view of the match whether they want to or not.

“We therefore happily lend our support to the Football Supporters Federation in calling for trials of safe standing systems and look forward to both the Government and the Football Authorities recognising and implementing the need for such trials.”

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