Doncaster: Fans are behind standing

PA Sport
Neil Doncaster

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Neil Doncaster

Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster insists fan power, in part, lay behind the decision to give the go-ahead to SPL clubs to pilot safe standing schemes in their stadia.

The SPL announced on Monday a relaxation of their rules on standing, following a general meeting of all 12 clubs at Hampden. Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England, which came into force after the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Doncaster claims the views of supporters were taken into consideration by the clubs who are looking to bring more fans back to the game, and he said: "Whenever we do consult with supporters they say, often in numbers, that they would like to see the re-introduction of safe standing."

He added: "Atmosphere is a big part of it. I am of a generation who went to games where safe standing was allowed.

"That atmosphere is something special and it would certainly add to it at a number of grounds."

Doncaster, though, was quick to point out that the pilot scheme would not signal a return to old-style terracing.

Doncaster pointed to modern systems used in Europe like 'Rail' where there is a safety barrier and a seat on every row which can be locked for SPL games and unfolded for other competitions, as options for interested clubs.

"There is no suggestion that we are simply opening up the terracings again," he said. "It is about introducing areas that are safe for standing, like the Rail system that we have seen working successfully in Germany might be considered.

"It won't affect the requirement to have 6,000 covered seats at grounds, that will still remain but over and above that, clubs can bring forward pilot schemes.

"Clearly there is some investment that would be required with clubs. That investment may be met by the demand of safe standing that seems to be out there."

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