Government review safe standing at football matches / by Craig Heap

Photo by Robin Buchanan

Photo by Robin Buchanan

Following a parliamentary debate earlier in the week, the Government will commission a fundamental review of standing at football matches in the English Premier League and Championship.

All-seater stadiums have been mandatory in these leagues since 1994, after standing was banned by an amendment to the Football Spectators' Act 1989, following recommendations made in the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

However, surveys of supporters have shown that there is support amongst fans for the introduction of standing areas and Sports minister Tracey Crouch says her "mind is open" on safe standing at football grounds after announcing a fresh review into the subject.

The MP, speaking at Monday's parliamentary debate on the issue, expects findings of the initial research to be completed before the end of the year.

"Today I can announce we will commission an external analysis of evidence relating to the all-seater policy," said Crouch

"The one thing we need to do is collect and analyse the evidence that exists and ensure that all views on this issue can be heard and considered before we make any changes to the all-seater policy.

"Change cannot and should not happen overnight on something as serious as football ground safety. My mind is open on the future of the all-seater policy."

In Scotland, The Scottish Premier League had previously made it a condition of membership that clubs had to have all-seated grounds. This requirement was relaxed in 2011.

Following this, standing was re-introduced to the Scottish Premiership at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

Holmes Miller and engineers Blyth & Blyth were instrumental in the design of the safe standing area at Celtic Park for Celtic Football Club which was completed for the start of the 2016/17 season.

Celtic Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell said:

“The introduction of rail seating at Celtic Park represents an investment in spectator safety. Across football globally, the reality is that some supporters are choosing to stand at matches.

"This is something we must accept and manage and also understand the positive effect which these areas have on atmosphere at matches.

“Celtic’s primary objective will always be the safety and comfort of its supporters – this new system will now allow fans to stand safely at matches.

Installation video shot by Celtic FC Media Team

A case study on the installation at Celtic Park