Premier League clubs considering 'safe standing' areas in stadiums

Premier League clubs are set to discuss proposals to re-introduce standing areas at English top-flight grounds for the first time in more than 20 years.

AFP November 12, 2016 09:10:44 IST
Premier League clubs considering 'safe standing' areas in stadiums

London: Premier League clubs are set to discuss proposals to re-introduce standing areas at English top-flight grounds for the first time in more than 20 years when they meet in London next Thursday.

Premier League clubs considering safe standing areas in stadiums

'Safe standing' is an important consideration for Premier League clubs. Twitter/@premierleague

The issue of so-called "safe standing" areas will be on the agenda of a Premier League shareholders' meeting.

Moves to make all-seater stadiums compulsory in the top division of English football followed a recommendation made by Lord Justice Peter Taylor's report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which saw 96 Liverpool fans standing on a terrace at Sheffield Wednesday's ground effectively crushed to death.

Yet with many traditional English football fans feeling priced out of the cost of a ticket for a Premier League game, calls have grown in recent areas to introduce the kind of 'rail seats' popular at many German and Scandinavian clubs.

These are seats that can be flipped up and locked in place, providing space to stand behind a waist-high rail that runs along the back of the row in front. Every "seat" is linked to a ticket number and there is no overall increase in capacity.

But with memories of Hillsborough revived by the recently-concluded new inquest into the tragedy, there are those who argue the British Government will not move to change the law for fear of creating the conditions for another disaster.

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said the issue, however, could no longer be ignored.

"We're not immune to the fact that this is a topic and therefore it is in discussion with our clubs," Scudamore told Sky Sports News.

"They are all looking at the issue and at some point it will come around our table and we will see if there's a point at which we might open up discussions with government to see what their view is on it.

"It's very much individual clubs sensing for themselves where they are with it and we may or may not facilitate that discussion in the weeks and months to come.

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