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Supporters and standing – the European picture

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

Our Safe Standing Campaign is going great guns – 22 football clubs now officially back it along with the Scottish Premier League. An ever-growing list of football industry figures, politicians and safety experts are clambering on board too.

We want to see safe standing areas trialled in the Premier League and Championship. Standing areas are already allowed in League One, League Two and beyond. Clubs are given a three year window to convert to all-seater following promotion to the Championship.

But how is standing treated in other countries?

Our friends at Football Supporters Europe (FSE), the European fans’ body to whom the FSF is affiliated, sent a short questionnaire to supporters across the continent and the results make for interesting reading. Fans from 30 countries responded with 18 countries saying “Yes”, they do have standing areas at top-flight games.

Of the 12 remaining countries that have top-flight standing bans only two actually enforce the ban on standing in seated areas – England and Scotland. 

Safe standing is pretty close to being introduced into the Scottish Premier League which would leave England as the last country in Europe to actively prevent fans from standing in the top-flight. 

Supporters often approach the FSF bemoaning “unfair” treatment compared to our continental cousins, whether that’s in relation to the removal of banners in the ground, drinking beer in sight of the pitch or standing.

And you have to say, when it comes to standing, anyone complaining about inequitable treatment would have a point.

You can read more about the FSF’s Safe Standing Campaign here.

Thanks to Jon Darch for the image used in this article (Klagenfurt, Austria).

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