09 February 2017

Government ‘remains unconvinced’ by merits of safe standing

The UK government has poured cold water on the possibility of allowing safe standing areas within Premier League football grounds, claiming that it “remains unconvinced” of its safety credentials.


In the Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) first Sporting Future annual report, it was claimed that despite “growing speculation” that safe standing could be introduced, government was unlikely to change policy on this in the near future.


“Since a rail seating section was installed at Celtic Park, there has been growing speculation that such accommodation could be introduced into Premier League and Championship football grounds,” said the report.


“Government remains unconvinced by the case put forward for re-introducing standing accommodation at football grounds covered by the all-seater requirement.


However, the report stipulated that the DCMS would “continue to monitor how it is working at Celtic” The Scottish football team is trialing safe standing this season, installing 3,000 rail seats last summer. The policy to include safe standing seats has been strongly back by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). The FSF has campaigned for its inclusion. An FSF spokesperson told Sports Management that the body will continue to work with government and safety experts to “facilitate the arrival of safe standing in the top two divisions of English football”.


“Demand for safe-standing remains high among football supporters and the safe standing campaign continues to make progress, both publically and behind the scenes,” added the spokesperson. “The English Football League has formally supported safe standing for a number of years now and we welcome the Premier League recently opening up discussions with its clubs on the matter.”Football clubs in the top two divisions have been required to play matches in all-seater stadiums since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.



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