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Progress in standing campaign as major parties back reform

In a first at a UK general election, all three of the main political parties have outlined support for standing at the match in their manifestos.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all included commitments to reform the all-seater legislation in their manifestos ahead of December’s General Election.

Earlier this autumn, research commissioned by the Government looking into possible reform of the all-seater legislation was published – it argued that more trials of standing areas in the top-flight are needed. The review into standing at football was launched back in June 2018 by then Sports Minister Tracey Crouch following a summer of intense campaigning from supporters – culminating in a Government petition signed by more than 112,000 fans.

The Conservative Party were the last to publish their manifesto and they say they “will work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing”.

Led by Dr Rosena Allin-Khan as shadow sports minister, Labour publicly committed to changing the all-seater laws covering the top two divisions last year – and have included the policy commitment in their 2019 manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats, who backed safe standing prior to the 2010 election, remain committed to the idea.

FSA chairman Malcolm Clarke said: “We’re looking at what the party manifestos offer supporters across a range of issues – grassroots football, transport, better governance, diversity issues and, of course, standing.

“It’s encouraging to see all the major political parties backing standing at football, there’s been real progress in recent years, and we look forward to the next Government, whichever party that happens to be, working with the football authorities to help make it happen.”

The FSA provided evidence to the Government’s review of standing at football which demonstrated an increasingly vocal demand, from fans of all ages and genders, for the choice between sitting and standing at the match being made available.

This summer Wolverhampton Wanderers installed more than 5,000 rail seats in the south stand at Molineux, becoming the first Premier League club to retrofit rail-seating type accommodation into an existing stand. Tottenham Hotspur also installed seats with barriers at their new stadium last season.

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