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SBD Global/October 21, 2013/Facilities

Manchester United To Consider Return Of Standing Areas At Old Trafford

ManU has "agreed to investigate the viability of introducing a safe-standing area at Old Trafford," according to Herbert & Scott-Elliot of the London INDEPENDENT. The move could "potentially deliver major impetus to the campaign for an alternative to seats for fans in the Premier League." ManU has "always opposed the introduction of safe standing on the grounds that their stadium is not equipped for it and legislation would be needed to make it possible." However, the club's new CEO, Ed Woodward, "expressed a willingness to explore the idea when supporters' representatives put it to him at a recent fans' forum." With Woodward's experience of standing at Chelmsford City, in his native Essex, being a contributing factor, ManU has "now agreed to look at the logistics of altering the Old Trafford infrastructure to accommodate the increased number of supporters that a safe-standing area might bring." The campaign for safe seating has "gradually been gathering pace," with Aston Villa, Cardiff, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Hull "all giving their backing to the Football Supporters' Federation plan." The campaign, however, "is in need of the backing of one of Britain's more high-profile clubs." ManU's "willingness to consider the idea is a significant landmark, if not a direct expression of support." However, the more fundamental hurdle for the thousands of fans who back such a notion "is the requirement of new legislation overturning the parameters of the 1989 Football Spectators Act, which decreed that stadia in the two top divisions must be all-seater" (INDEPENDENT, 10/18).
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