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Football Supporters Association Celebrate Safe Standing
Tuesday, 5th Jul 2022 15:14

The Football Supporters Association (FSA) have campaigned long and hard over safe standing at football grounds and they are now celebrating that a battle has been won, but that won't be the end for the FSA, they still have plenty of work to do.

Brentford, QPR and Wolves will 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.

More clubs are expected to follow suit as supporters stand legally for the first time at a Premier League stadium in more than 20 years.

At the head of the campaign to elicit this change were the Football Supporters Association who not only campaigned for change, but compiled the evidence and indeed took time out to lobby all those against and change their minds.

This didn't just include various governments, the football authorities and even some of the clubs themselves, but also the Liverpool supporters groups representing the families of those killed at Hillsborough just over 33 years ago, the incident which really brought around the legislation to ban standing at football matches in the early 1990's.

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.

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.”

The Football Supporters Association had this to say:

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.

The truth is that legalising standing at football grounds and regulating it was always the better option than just pretending it wasn't happening, over the past two decades that has been the case, older Saints fans will remember some of the incidents in the early years at St Mary's with fans clashing with police & stewards trying to make them sit down in the Northam End.

Indeed standing in seated areas is far more dangerous than standing on the old traditional terraces, however the rail seating that will now be adopted where rails run infront of each individual row, a system in place in Germany for some time, is far far safer, it means that supporters all have a designated space, but there isn't the issues with fans falling into the row in front of them and creating a domino effect.

So good news for football fans and some sense brought back into football stadia.

Photo: Action Images



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DellBoyWally added 16:37 - Jul 5
Hopefull Saints will provide a safe-standing area where "the noisy ones" can stand (I've past that stage; did my apprenticeship in Milton Road, The Dell during the 1960s and 70s) I'm sure "the noisy ones" will improve the overall atmosphere, provide a focus for all the songs, cheering and shouting and provide a central point for support of the side.
It's something very absent from St Marys and long overdue
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highfield49 added 16:45 - Jul 5
All well and good if it's only supporters in the designated areas making use of the choice to stand up to watch a match. Sadly, experience tells me that the rest of the ground will be part populated by the self-entitled who feel that they have the right to stand up and block the view of those in their vicinity. I'm not posting about the natural reaction to on field incidents where of course most supporters will stand up, shout, cheer, applaud etc, etc but those who will challenge any reasonable request not to spoil the day for the elderly, infirm, very young or frail who don't have the option to stand for the entire match
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PeterL22 added 10:10 - Jul 8
Sorry to disagree highfield, but anyone who has been to a game at St Mary’s will know, if you go in the Northam End you will stand during the game (and get the atmosphere); if you want to sit you go in the Chapel of Rest end and risk waking up if Saints score!
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