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Safe standing stadium review launched

Populous' multi-use proposals for a Tottenham Hotspur stadium - aerial

The ban on standing in football stadiums could be lifted after the government announced a review into safe standing stadiums.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch MP said that the government would commission analysis of evidence to establish solutions to standing in stadiums, which will be completed by the end of the year.

She said: “The one thing we need to do is collect and analyse the evidence that exists and ensure that all views are heard before we make any decision about changing the all-seated policy. 

“We need proper evidence and solutions about risks associated with standing and what systems might be needed. 

“We will commission an external analyse of evidence relating to the all-seating policy. My department will be going out to tender for this piece of work shortly, and my aim is that it is completed by the end of the year.”

The matter was debated in the House of Commons after 112,000 football fans signed a petition calling for the policy to be reviewed. Standing areas were banned in Premier League and Championship stadiums following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Introducing the debate Conservative MP Luke Hall said: “Our country has both a glorious heritage and enduring past surrounding football ground safety.”

“It is right that we seek to ensure that football supporters across England and Wales have the best possible match day experience but equally important that we remember lessons the football world has learnt, and the reasons why changes were first introduced.”

Hall said that the proposed rail seating  - which allocates a seat per ticket holder that can be folding up to allow for standing - would be “safe-standing in the modern era and in the new climate of technological advancement.”

The decision could be made on a case by case basis by local authorities, police and clubs he said. 

Maria Eagle MP for Garston and Halewood, who represents many families bereaved in the Hillsborough disaster, said they remain against the lifting of the ban. Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden echoed her comments. 

Labour backed safestanding ahead of the debate and shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan MP campaigned for the ban to be lifted. 

Engineers told New Civil Engineer it would be possible to convert stadiums for safe-standing, as long as dynamics and visibility testing was carried out. 

Tottenham’s new £850M stadium has been ‘future-proofed’ for safe-standing, the club announced hours before the debate. It has planned for a change in the law by designing a safe-standing space in the 17,500 capacity single-tier south stand.

 

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