Basket
×

Your basket

Join The FSA

Do Female Fans Want The Choice To Stand? Yes!

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

“One of the arguments put forward [by opponents] is that safe standing discriminates against women,” said The Case for Safe Standing in Football panellist Fiona McGee, a researcher, writer and Leeds United fan who has followed the club across the country for more than 20 years.

“To me and to most women the decision whether or not to sit or to stand at football matches is a matter of personal choice. The argument against introducing safe standing because it somehow discriminates against women football fans I find to be a particularly spurious one,” says Fiona.

“I’ve been to Peterborough for the past two seasons and have the choice whether to stand or sit and I always choose to stand. I can’t remember the last time I went away with Leeds and sat down.

“We always stand – and I prefer to do that – but there are other people who would prefer to sit down and they don’t actually have that choice. To trial safe standing is the only sensible way forward.”

However, the Premier League have used the argument that standing scares women off from football to justify the top-flight standing ban. They told the BBC: “Since the introduction of all-seater stadia the supporter experience has improved significantly and we have seen more diverse crowds attending Premier League matches, including more women and children.”

The FSF doesn’t believe it’s an argument that stands up to scrutiny.

Football stadiums should be welcoming places for fans of all background, regardless of age, disability, race, sex or any other identifying factor. But we would dispute the underlying assumption that younger or female supporters do not support safe standing.

The FSF’s 2012 Annual Survey results said:

  • 85% of female fans backed the choice to sit or stand;
  • One in three preferred to stand, given the choice;
  • 93% of those who preferred to stand cited “better atmosphere” as a reason for this choice.

Writing in The Guardian in April 2012 Alastair Campbell, ex-Director of Communications at Number 10, quite rightly pointed out that the “underlying assumption that female fans will somehow be scared off by those boisterous boys in the standing corner is a bit patronising anyway. Plenty of women choose to stand too.”

Peterborough United Chief Executive Bob Symns also makes a compelling case arguing that the club’s existing standing facilities are “full of men, women, children, youngsters, senior citizens; they just prefer to stand.”

The next time one of the football authorities chooses to blithely state that standing scares off women and children, they should bring actual evidence.

Thanks to Peterborough United for the image used in this story.

Related Articles

Fans want action on ‘worrying trend’ in Euro away ticket prices

Belgian club RSC Anderlecht have been ordered by UEFA to compensate away fans hit by the club’s price gouging in this season’s Champions League group fixtures.

West Ham fans: “We want to complain about the price of tea”

The 2017-18 season was another turbulent one for West Ham United, both on and off the pitch, here author Brian Williams speaks to FSF affiliates West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association (WHUISA) to find out more…

Questions for the FSA: What do you want to know?

The FSA exists to represent the interests of football supporters across England and Wales, and we’ll continue to do that during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the lack of football.

Biggest ever standing survey shows massive support for choice

The Stand Up For Choice survey, a record breaking piece of research on standing at football published today, shows an overwhelming number of fans support reforming the all-seater legislation.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe