West Ham Considers Safe Standing Areas In New Olympic Stadium Plans
EPL West Ham co-Owner David Gold has told fans he is ready to explore the possibility of incorporating a "safe standing" area at London's Olympic Stadium, according to Matt Fortune of the London DAILY MAIL. To a question posed by Twitter user @Jamie_Seagrave, asking if safe standing could be used, Gold responded: "I do hope so." The Premier League and successive governments have also "opposed any changes" regarding standing areas to the Football Spectators Act 1989, inacted after the Hillsborough disaster, which saw 96 Liverpool supporters die in the Leppings Lane end of Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium. In October, Aston Villa became the first Premier League club to publicly back a new campaign for trials of standing areas for fans in top-flight and Championship League matches. The campaign has been launched by the Football Supporters' Federation and Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff. Aston Villa and Peterborough have both given support to calls for the government to allow "small-scale trials of safe standing areas." Responding directly to the FSF campaign, a Premier League spokesperson "dismissed the idea." The spokesperson said, "The police, safety officers and licensing authorities remain clear on this issue and have consistently informed us that crowd management has improved as a result of all-seater stadia being in place in the top two divisions in this country. We will not be encouraging the government to change the law." Daily Mail sports writer Adam Shergold wrote that his recent visit to Hamburg convinced him safe standing should be allowed. Shergold: "I've been a big advocate of Safe Standing for many years and a recent trip to Germany confirmed my belief that it's the way forward here too. In contrast to the top divisions in England, Safe Standing areas are the norm in every Bundesliga stadium and have been for a number of years." He continued, "Unlike the vast, dangerous terraces of yesteryear, the Safe Standing areas are ticketed to control numbers, and fans can stand behind retractable barriers. At Hamburg, there were also tall fences separating 'blocks' to prevent everyone rushing to the middle" (DAILY MAIL, 12/7).