Safe Standing Areas Come To Brentford, QPR, Wolves… And Wembley
From the official FSA.Org website:
Brentford, QPR and Wolves are the latest clubs to confirm they will have safe standing areas – and more clubs are expected to follow next season as the Government has confirmed that Premier League and Championship clubs can introduce standing during 2022/23.
Wembley Stadium will also offer a “small licensed standing area” for fans at domestic games this coming season.
The newest trio of clubs join Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur who were ‘early adopters’ as the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) carried out research into designated areas last season.
The SGSA said the latest stadiums had been selected following an application process which was open to all grounds covered by the all-seater policy.
“Strict conditions have been met, including enhanced use of CCTV, improved steward training and fans being strictly limited to ‘one person, one space’. Clubs have also engaged with fans as part of their application process,” said the SGSA.
A final report on last season’s Government-commissioned trial concluded that the installation of barriers or rails in areas of persistent standing in seated areas delivered a positive impact on spectator safety and improved fans’ matchday experience in both home and away sections.
The report recommended that clubs should be given the opportunity to implement licensed standing areas as soon as possible.
The research also found that “there is no evidence to date that the introduction of licensed standing areas has led to an increase in standing elsewhere in stadia” – backing the argument that standing areas increase choice and can benefit all fans.
“Based upon what I have experienced and we have learnt through the pilot programme, safe standing is set to deliver an electric atmosphere at our football stadiums,” – sports minister Nigel Huddleston
SGSA chief executive Martyn Henderson also welcomed “the controlled return of standing for the modern era, which has been made possible by a very close collaboration with the Government.”
He added: “This is an historic moment for football – and, most importantly, for the fans who have campaigned for this change and will be safer as a result of today’s decision.”
What does the FSA think?
Match-going supporters know the benefits of safe standing are enormous, with better atmospheres and more choice for fans, whether they prefer to sit or stand.
We’ve always made the case that football clubs should be able to talk to their fanbase and work together to find the ideal mix of seating and standing at every club.
That’s now possible and it’s no surprise at all that more clubs are already looking to join last season’s early adopters and install their own standing areas.
We’ve been campaigning for safe standing areas for decades now – this is a huge victory for supporters’ groups and all the activists who made it happen.
‘Chelsea Supporters Group’ can also be found on Twitter and Facebook