Premier League and Championship clubs given green light over safe standing areas

·2-min read

All clubs in the top two tiers of English football can apply to operate licensed safe standing areas next season, the government has announced.

Cardiff, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham took part in a safe standing pilot in the second half of last season.

Brentford, QPR and Wolves will now join those clubs in offering designated areas for home and away fans from the start of the 2022-23 season.

The government also confirmed that Wembley would also offer limited safe standing for fans from both sets of clubs at domestic matches later in the season.

The Football Association will trial safety rails at England's Nations League match against Germany in September, but at that stage, spectators must remain seated.

Once the trials are completed, and should approval be given by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), 892 seats in the lowest tier behind each goal - 1,784 seats in total - will be in designated safe standing areas.

'A good day for football'

The pilot scheme marked a reversal of the 30-year rule requiring all-seater stadiums.

Stadiums in England's top two leagues have had to be all-seater since laws were introduced following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

It is understood Liverpool are not considering introducing safe standing for next season, but may extend or increase their existing rail seating provision, having run a separate club pilot last season.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "We're confident now that we can roll out safe standing.

"We've engaged with lots of stakeholders, including importantly with Hillsborough families, because it's really important that we do take everybody's views and opinions on board.

"Fans want it, we can do it safely, and I think it's a good day for football."

The report on safe standing, compiled by CFE Research, acknowledged the rise in anti-social behaviour and disorder at football matches during last season, but said this was not attributable to the introduction of safe standing areas.

It also found no evidence the safe standing areas led to an increase in standing in other parts of the stadium.

More than half of fans surveyed in the research - 52% - said they felt safer with the introduction of safe standing areas, with only 5% saying they felt less safe.

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