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© Alamy - Tottenham Hotspur fans celebrate in their new rail seat section

After more than three decades of campaigning the voices of football supporters have been heard and standing areas are now allowed in the top two divisions – with clubs free to apply to the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) for licensed standing areas.

In the spring of 2022, the Government gave approval to the SGSA to allow licensed standing areas in the EFL Championship and Premier League. Since then dozens of clubs have successfully applied for and begun install new standing sections in their grounds.

The go-ahead for the roll-out of new standing areas follows years of campaigning from football fans up and down the country, and followed a period of evidence-gathering by the SGSA. Their research found that, as we all suspected, that safe standing at football grounds has had “a positive impact on spectator safety” and had improved the matchday experience for thousands of supporters who had taken part in pilot schemes.

“Based upon what I have experienced and we have learnt through the pilot programme, safe standing is set to deliver an electric atmosphere at our football stadiums,” – sports minister Nigel Huddleston, May 2022

The research also found that “there is no evidence to date that the introduction of licensed standing areas has led to an increase in standing elsewhere in stadia” – backing the argument that standing areas increase choice and can benefit all fans.

What next?

It’s now up to each club, in conjunction with its local Safety Advisory Group (SAG), to decide what facilities suit their needs. The FSA believes that fans should be part of that process and represented on local SAGs. The SGSA also supports our call for such supporter engagement at a local level.

If you’d like to see standing areas intorduced at your club we’d encourage you to contact your local supporters’ group and ask what discussions they’ve had with your club. If you’re from a supporters’ organisation, and would like help from the FSA when making that approach, please get in touch.

There will be more work in future to ensure clubs and SAGs do what should be done but this is a huge milestone. An achievement that many in football, politics and the police told us would never happen.

While the current Stand Up For Choice moniker has seen this campaign over the line, it’s probably best known as the “Safe Standing Campaign” from decades past.

That campaign would not have been possible without the devotion of dozens of key volunteers over the years and the wider support of many tens of thousands more who signed petitions, lobbied their MPs and held banners in grounds. It’s a victory for us all.

Former-FSA Board member and safe standing campaigner Peter Daykin, said:

“This finally brings to an end the farcical situation in which fans at every ground continue to stand in their thousands – often to the detriment of those who can’t or don’t want to stand behind them – but that clubs can’t officially recognise or tackle in a constructive, proactive way.”

Despite this victory, we won’t stop talking about standing.

It provides choice, drives the atmosphere in stadiums and we will continue to promote different types of standing accommodation – rail seats, seats with barriers and licenced standing areas – which our members support and can now enjoy at all levels of the game.

Latest news: Standing

Rail seats coming to Oakwell: Standing revolution continues

Last week, Barnsley signalled their intention to introduce rail seats at their famous old Oakwell ground – becoming the latest EFL club to offer their supporters real choice.

UEFA approves safe standing use at European games

This week UEFA confirmed that it has approved the use of safe standing in European competitions for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

Safe standing areas come to Brentford, QPR, Wolves… and Wembley

Brentford, QPR and Wolves are the latest clubs to confirm they will have safe standing areas – and more clubs are expected to follow next season as the Government has confirmed that Premier League and Championship clubs can introduce standing during 2022/23.

Gov’t to support expansion of licensed standing areas next season

The sports minister today announced that the Government is “minded to support the wider roll-out of licensed standing areas” for the start of next season.

Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


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