For years people stood at football matches, some terraces could hold up to 30,000 extra people! The atmosphere at times in places was incredible. However due to extremely sad circumstances with the Hillsborough disaster, the Taylor report was published, banning terracing in the top divisions in the UK. Because of the ageing terraces, a lot of clubs found it easier and cheaper to build new stadiums instead of converting the terracing. It’s one of the main reasons why teams like Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Reading and Stoke for example all built stadiums in the mid 90’s.
However a few people said at the time, it’d kill the atmosphere of the crowds, and it sort of did, generally the atmosphere can be dreadful in most games, the thing was bringing back standing to football was a kind of sensitive area due to Hillsborough, but ever since it came to light that Hillsborough was caused due to negligence from the authorities, more and more people have come forward in bringing back standing at matches in some capacity, and that is safe standing. So what is safe standing, how does it work and most importantly is it safe? This article will explain everything to you and hopefully we’ll be seeing it in our stadiums soon!
The above picture shows how safe standing would work, it wouldn’t go back to the terracing of old, but this is the closest you’re going to be able to get. It’s quite popular in Europe with teams like Dortmund using them on its famous ‘Yellow Wall’ which is known for its atmosphere. The seats slide away, and due to UEFA regulations, they’ve got to be used for European games so the seats come out and after the game is finished the seats are locked back up again.
There’s plenty of space between the rows of seats so everyone can stand safely, with the bar in front this also means fans can no longer go flying down several rows which does happen especially when their team scores a important goal which is extremely dangerous.
Two teams in the UK have installed safe standing areas, Celtic introduced safe standing in 2016 and Shrewsbury have just recently started the process of installing their safe standing area. However currently any team from the Premier League and the Championship aren’t allowed to install them, the teams in the leagues below that the rules are slightly softened, which is why Shrewsbury are allowed to install them. Scotland did ban standing at football, however the rule was relaxed in 2011 and Celtic got permission to convert to safe standing.
Currently it’s a very popular topic amongst fans and clubs alike, with both Everton and Spurs looking at introducing safe standing in some capacity at their new stadiums.
As you can see in the above picture, Everton are very keen to install safe standing at their stadium they’re building on the Bramley Moore Docks. So the areas in the grey would be fitted with seats that could easily be converted if/when the current regulations are lifted.
Tottenham’s stadium is a lot closer to being built than Everton’s and with it being complete by August 2018, we can already sort of see they’re waiting just for the government to lift the regulations so they can convert the above seats to the rail-seating quickly and easily.
Owen Riches a young Ipswich fan has created a petition,asking people to sign it to help him get 100k signatures. Once it hits 100k, this means it’ll be debated in Parliament, fans from all over the country retweeted and shared the link out to help him. Better yet even football clubs social media accounts also shared the petition around, so it was no surprise when it hit 100k signatures.
On the 24th of June, there will be a debate at Parliament to discuss whether if safe standing should be introduced into the UK. I encourage anyone who wants to come and support Owen and many others who want to show their support of safe standing. You can make a difference.
Owen’s on twitter so if you’d like to give him a follow or tweet him support over the petition that would be brilliant @MidgetMurphy
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