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Liverpool announce trial of 7,800 rail seats

Liverpool are the latest club to announce a trial of rail seating, with 7,800 rail seats due to be installed at Anfield ahead of the new season.

The club announced today that the 7,800 “seats with barriers” will be installed at Anfield this summer – around 1,800 of the new seats will be located in the back of the Kop and 6,000 in the Anfield Road Stand lower tier.

Liverpool become the sixth Premier League club to commit to offering rail seats to their supporters joining Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur who already have such seats installed, along with Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs who have installations in the works.

Liverpool fans welcomed the move and the Spirit of Shankly supporters’ group said: “This is an emotive situation for all involved with our club and we know there will be mixed reactions to today’s report. 

“It’s not a case of right or wrong, and those who have concerns should be heard and their views respected. 

“Rail seating already exists in some grounds, and the groundswell of public opinion in favour, not only within Liverpool’s support but across the country, means it was inevitable it would eventually become widespread.

“The safety and comfort of all fans is paramount and will remain the case. The Taylor Report, published after the Hillsborough disaster, stated that standing was not the cause of events that day and standing in general at football matches was not inherently unsafe.

“There have been major strides in ensuring fans’ safety at football stadiums over the past 30 years. Allowing fans to stand again and safely is the next step, and will be at the forefront of all changes to come in the way we watch the game at Anfield.”

The club say they are making the installation to address persistent standing in the Kop and Anfield Road stands. They are also updating their stance following the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s (SGSA) most recent review, which now approves the installation of safety rails.

Andy Hughes, managing director of Liverpool, said: “The safety of our supporters when they come to Anfield is our absolute priority and we are fully committed to working with the SGSA on the trial of these new seats at Anfield.

“It is critical that we listen to the experts and deliver their recommendations to address this safety issue.

“We have informed key stakeholders and thank all fans for their input and support during this trial. We will complete a full review of the trial in 12 months at the end of next season.”

Standing legislation

In February 2020 the SGSA reported that standing options – such as rail seats and seats with barriers – had improved safety in the top flight.

This followed a commitment in January 2020 by then-sports minister Nigel Adams that the Government was “keen to deliver” its pledge on allowing standing sections to be introduced in the top two divisions.

All was set before COVID-19 swept the globe, and when football returned it was largely behind-closed-doors with no opportunity to run the research without fans in the stands.

What next?

The SGSA has continued to consult supporters – before the pandemic we helped them survey match-going fans at a number of clubs.

We’ll continue to make the case for different types of standing accommodation – rail seats, seats with barriers, existing licenced standing areas – being available as a menu of options for clubs and local safety advisory groups to consider.

The SGSA’s ideas to engage both away fans and disabled fans, ensuring that standing areas are accessible for all sections of match-goers, are welcome too. Standing areas give supporters choice, improve atmospheres, and reduce tensions between stewards and fans.

Related Articles

Wolves make breakthrough with plans for 5,000 rail seats

Wolves have announced plans to install more than 5,000 rail seats at Molineux in what has been described as “great news” for the standing campaign.

Bristol City latest to commit to rail seats as standing revolution continues

Bristol City are set to become the latest club to provide their supporters with standing accommodation after they unveiled plans to install just under 1,200 rail seats at Ashton Gate.

Manchester United given green light for 1,500 rail seats

Manchester United have been given the go-ahead by their local authority to install rail seats at Old Trafford.

Manchester City to install more than 5,000 rail seats

Manchester City have announced that they will be the latest Premier League club to install rail seating at their ground, anticipating a change in Government legislation.

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