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SBD Global/December 30, 2013/International Football

Football League Canvasses Clubs About Introducing Safe Standing At Stadiums

English football "took its biggest step yet towards the official return of standing" after the Football League canvassed its clubs about introducing so-called "safe standing" at its grounds, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The league's new CEO, Shaun Harvey, revealed that "all 72 of its members were being contacted to gauge how much desire existed to challenge ground regulations implemented in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster." It is the first time one of the English game's governing bodies "has indicated a readiness to lobby the Government to legitimise standing areas at all-seater stadia since they were effectively outlawed almost 20 years ago." The league had previously resisted pressure from its clubs to agitate for change "but there has been a rethink since Harvey’s appointment" (TELEGRAPH, 12/27). The PA reported the Football Supporters' Federation believes "eventually common sense must prevail" over the implementation of safe-standing areas at British grounds. Most of the Football League's 72 clubs are in favor of safe standing, "with the German model using rail seats pointed to as a workable example." German stadiums use rail seats, "which can be flipped up and locked in place to provide space to stand behind a waist-high rail that runs along the back of the row in front." Each seat "is linked to a ticket number and can be used in a sitting position" to meet UEFA rules for European games (PA, 12/28).

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