Basket
×

Your basket

Join The FSA

Sunderland safety boss backs safe standing plans

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

Sunderland AFC’s safety manager Paul Weir is the latest in a growing list of the game’s senior figures to back safe standing. In an interview with fanzine A Love Supreme Weir backed the key tenet of the Football Supporters’ Federation’s argument – that fans should have the choice to sit or stand in safety.

“As a club we would like to give fans who want to stand the opportunity to do so in a safe, appropriately designated area. The rail seats concept looks interesting and if the rules allowed it I’d be happy to manage standing fans in such areas,” said Weir.

Weir joins Peterborough United chief executive Bob Symns, who earlier this month gave his backing to safe standing, even offering to use the club’s London Road ground to trial safe standing areas if Parliament and the football authorities would authorise it.

Earlier this year Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner voiced his support while the Scottish Premier League has also said it would like to trial safe standing areas. In July Derby County and Nigel Clough followed suit while Wembley architect John Barrow of Populous said safe standing areas could be introduced “without any problems at all”. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has also said he is “open” to safe standing.

Weir was speaking after a visit by the Safe Standing Roadshow to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. The Roadshow, which has made more than twenty appearances at football grounds over the past year, demonstrates how safe standing can work, with a small-scale model of the rail seating system which is used in stadia in Germany.

Jon Darch, who manages the Safe Standing Roadshow, said: “Many Premier League and Championship grounds are all-seater in name only, with many fans taking it for granted that they will stand regardless. That creates an unnecessary headache for safety professionals such as Paul, and inconveniences other spectators who prefer to sit.

“The solution is properly designated standing areas fitted with rail seats. This would enable fans who want to stand to do so in complete safety, ensuring that those who prefer to sit are not inconvenienced.”

Peter Daykin, the FSF’s Safe Standing Campaign co-ordinator, welcomed Weir’s comments. “There’s a real head of steam gathering behind safe standing and we hope those in positions of power take note – it’s not just fans who would like safe standing areas, so would many of the industry’s leading figures.”

Join the FSF for free today from this link.

The Football Supporters’ Federation on Facebook.

Follow us on Twitter – @The_FSF

Related Articles

Safety officers criticise Government’s safe standing stance

The body representing football safety officers has criticised the Government’s decision to reject West Bromwich Albion’s application for a safe standing pilot.

The future of standing at Sunderland: A young fan’s view

Standing is a hot topic at the moment and its popularity continues to grow. But what do young fans think? Sunderland fan Luke Rose went along to the Stadium of the Light to talk to the club about the future of standing on Wearside…

Standing choice has “positive impact on safety” says early Government report

A report released by the Sports Ground Safety Authority today shows that standing options – such as rail seats and seats with barriers – have improved safety in the top flight.

Sunderland launch mental health hub

Sunderland AFC have become one of the first clubs in England and Wales to offer mental health support on matchdays, working with supporters to deliver the new service.

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