Thirteen English League Football Clubs Back Supporter Standing At Grounds
Thirteen English league clubs "support re-introducing standing at football grounds," according to the BBC. The Football Supporters' Federation is "hoping to win the backing" of MPs for its plan for a small-scale trial with Premier League clubs. The Premier League has released a statement opposing the idea. FSF Coordinator Peter Daykin said: "We need to find out if it can work, and the only way to do that is to trial it." In a statement, the Premier League said they will "not be encouraging the government to change the law." The FSF said that the idea has the support of EPL Aston Villa and the Scottish Premier League plus 12 Football League clubs, including Peterborough United, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Derby County and Hull City. The proposal is to introduce a design of "rail seat" currently used in some European countries such as Germany. This incorporates "a safety barrier and a flip-down seat on every other row." The seats can be locked in an upright position, meaning two rows of supporters can stand in between the barriers, which "reduces the danger of a crush." This type of standing area "would also be able to be converted to seating for European competitions," where all-seater stadiums are required (BBC, 12/11). In London, David Conn wrote "senior police officers are prepared to consider the introduction of standing areas at top-flight football grounds" if they can be shown to enhance safety and security, a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers has said. ACPO representative Bryan Drew said: "ACPO is very happy to engage in this discussion and this debate. ACPO need to be convinced that this change would enhance safety and security" (GUARDIAN, 12/11).