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Manchester United’s rail seat application “great news for supporters”

Manchester United are the latest club looking to provide a dedicated standing area after asking their local authority to give the green light to 1,500 rail seats at Old Trafford.

At the club’s most recent fan forum, they confirmed to supporter representatives that they had applied to the local Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to introduce 1,500 rail seats in the north east quadrant.

The application was made in December 2019 and the club is waiting for a decision from the local authority.

Chief operating officer Collette Roche told the fans’ forum: “Our belief is that the introduction of rail seating will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing.

“The SAG committee is reviewing the request. This is not an automatic approval process.

“We will discuss the proposal in detail with the relevant authorities and will work through their compliance and review processes. We will provide an update as soon as we receive any further information or a decision.”

Manchester United fans have been lobbying the club for a number of years to look at standing accommodation to provide supporters with choice and improve the atmosphere at Old Trafford.

If successful they will become the third Premier League club to provide rail seats or seats with barriers – following on from Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur.

Manchester United atmosphere and display group, Stretford End Flags said: “Fans groups have been consulting with Manchester United over rail seating for several years now.

“It’s been a slow process, but now looks increasingly likely that a trial area can be put in place. Great news for supporters. But still a long way to go.”

Manchester United’s progress follows on from a report released by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) last week 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 December’s general election.

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

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