Date: 13th November 2016 at 9:56pm
Written by:

The Premier League will be meeting this week to discuss the long standing issue of ‘safe standing’.

Every season there is a drive towards a return to ‘terraced areas’ within grounds in the top flight, and I’m sure everybody is aware of the ‘rail seating’ used by clubs in Germany’s Bundesliga which has proved cost effective, popular and all importantly ‘safe’ for fans when cheering on their sides, and with this season and last season especially seeing strong interest from a growing number of clubs in wanting to explore the options available to cater for all fans, whilst there shouldn’t be too much hope of an immediate change at this week’s meeting – it at least shows, that for those who want to stand at games without being told to sit down, that the momentum in that direction remains strong and is growing.

With some clubs on record already heavily backing and wanting to run a trial of ‘safe standing’, others haven’t quite gone that far but are open to investigating the proposition. However it’s also extremely fair to say that some clubs clearly don’t have an opinion on the subject, and many are aware given the history of standing, that it is a sensitive subject.

However meeting once more to discuss the matter is a positive, and proponents of ‘safe standing’ will be hoping that this edges the campaign on, even if only by a few more steps.

All seater stadia in the top flight has been compulsory since the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy and any changes to existing legislation would require Government approval, but for supporters, we no longer have to look to Germany as the main provider of ‘safe standing’ provisions. A number of league’s across Europe have stepped up and can be referenced in their own right, and most recently of course, Celtic’s opening of a standing section to house 2,900 fans in July, shows a compromise can be made that suits fans, adheres to safety and also doesn’t cause complications for European matches where all seater would still be a requirement – as rail seats can be locked or unlocked in an upright position to suit the outcome and are, by design, both ‘safe standing’ areas or equally seated areas.

I wouldn’t expect any major fall out from this meeting, but even if five undecided clubs make the switch to genuinely wanting to know more and investigating the proposition, it will be yet another step forward.