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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.

The approval from Trafford Council is an agreement in principle for the club to install around 1,500 barrier seats in the north-east quadrant of the ground.

Fans welcomed the development, having been in consultation and lobbying the club on the issue for a number of years. Manchester United Supporters’ Trust said: “We are delighted that the club has been given the green light to proceed with a barrier seating trial at Old Trafford.

“While it is the club who formally requested the trial, it is the culmination of many years of work by MUST (previously SU & IMUSA) representatives stretching back three decades since the very inception of the all-seater regulations.”

Manchester United said the change will be made following feedback from fans and claimed it could enhance supporter safety.

Managing director Richard Arnold said: “Our belief is that the introduction of barrier seats will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing.

“It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.”

Manchester United’s announcement follows on from a report released by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) earlier this year that shows standing options – such as rail seats and seats with barriers – have improved safety in the top flight.

The research is part of the Government’s commitment to reform the all-seater legislation, which it pledged in their manifesto before the December 2019 general election.

SGSA inspectors will visit several grounds over the course of the season and report back to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) with their findings.

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