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Standing at Football Grounds


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The Liberal Democrats are set to back a fan-led campaign to return standing areas to all British football stadia.


A motion on the controversial subject will be debated at the Lib Dems' autumn conference in Bournemouth on Sunday.


Stadia in England's top two tiers have had to be all-seater since the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.


"If fans want to stand, and clubs want to let them, we should at least explore safe ways of achieving it," said Lib Dem sports spokesman Don Foster.


"This is a sensitive issue but we cannot ignore the large numbers of fans who want to stand and are doing so in seating areas, despite the existing regulations and the danger it causes.


"Given the seeming impossibility of policing existing regulations, and recognising that some passionate fans want to be able to jump up and down, then we need to look at technologies that allow them to do that safely.


"Football has taken enormous steps in recent years with more diverse crowds, improved stadium designs and better policing. These proposals would in no way seek to undermine that progress."


The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) and Stand Up Sit Down have led the campaign to re-open the case for standing sections.


They point to German stadia as an example of how this can be done without jeopardising safety and they have drawn attention to the fact fans are allowed to stand at football matches outside the top two divisions, rugby matches and even music events at football stadia.


Concerns over ticket prices, an ageing crowd demographic, falling attendances at some grounds and a perceived lack of atmosphere at many venues have also contributed to the growing calls for a return to standing.


But the campaigners' efforts have been ignored so far by the government and the football authorities, particularly the Football Licensing Authority, the body created to implement the Taylor Report's post-Hillsborough recommendations.


Ninety-six supporters died on 15 April 1989 when the Leppings Lane end at Sheffield Wednesday's ground became over-crowded at the start of an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.


The official inquiry, conducted by Lord Taylor, blamed poor policing and inadequate facilities for the tragedy but the main recommendation was for the introduction of all-seater stadia and the removal of perimeter fencing.


British football, embarrassed by years of hooliganism and tired of second-rate facilities, did not need a second invitation and the era of packed terraces was quickly consigned to the past. The authorities have regarded any attempt to reintroduce standing as a "retrograde step".


But Malcolm Clarke, the chair of the FSF, said: "When nine of 10 fans want the option to stand, it's something that should be provided. Standing still occurs in the lower divisions and the government acknowledges it is not inherently unsafe.


"We congratulate the Liberal Democrats' decision to debate safe standing and would encourage all political parties to follow suit.


"Safe standing isn't just about those who wish to stand, it's about those who want to sit and view the match in comfort too. Many have their enjoyment spoiled by those who wish to stand."


Foster, the shadow secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, is expected to vote in favour of the motion as is Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, who has proposed two Early Day Motions in Parliament on the subject of safe standing in recent years.


Conservative leader David Cameron has previously said his party would review the current situation if elected.


The Lib Dem debate is particularly timely as this weekend will also see football fans from 14 different countries unite in the "Eurostand 2008" campaign to demand the right to stand.


Sounds reasonable?

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I've only had to stand at one game and that was Rotherham away in a friendly in 1996.


I can see why after Hillsbrough that they banned standing, but that was nearly 20 years ago and in a different age of football. I think if people want to stand at a game, then provided it can be done safely, then it's a great idea.

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How long did we have terracing before Hillsbrough? 100+ years of standing at football matches, and there's one accident (albeit one helluva accident).


It's been several years since I last stood on real football terracing. Brondby's stadium was probably the last one I was at. The last Scottish one was probably Dens Park in a bizarre match I went to see between Dundee and Montrose about 15 years ago (Billy Dodds played for Dundee).


Terracing was excellent, and should be brought back in a day and age where football fans are now watched like a hawk through stadium security personnel, CCTV cameras and the police.

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Only times ive been in modern packed terracing was at Telford Uniteds ground for a local derby with Shrewbury Town

There was a strict capacity regulation and there were actually spaces marked on the terracing that coincided with your ticket.

Luckily I got there early as the stand only had a capacity of 1150. Soon as it sold out they closed the turnstiles with a few hundred people locked out (at the time they were rebuilding and only the two end terraces were complete (hows that for a bizarre way to construct a new stadium?)


As the report said Hillsborough happened when Leppings lane became overcrowded and if what ive heard is true was this not down to them deciding to open up one of the exit gates whcih let people without tickets pile in?


Only time ive seen a stand over its capacity was the shed at tannadice a few seasons back when United in their wisdom didnt keep count and just kept taking the money. People ended up sitting on the stairs whilst there were lots of empty seats in the Main/ Jerry kerr.


My only rule for standing is that all short arse whiny bastards must get there early and go down the front of the stand. Fed up of people at concerts asking if i could maybe crouch down so they can see despite me being stood in the same spot for about 1hr before the gig started.


Perhaps bring in those min. height signs you get at fairgrounds  :thumbsup:

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  • 4 years later...






Sunderland have taped up the seats of fans who refuse to sit down during games at the Stadium of Light.

Supporters of the club who persistently stand during matches have been suspended from using their season tickets. A photo circulated on Twitter shows a seat with a note on it saying: "This season card has been suspended due to persistent standing."


The club has issued a warning on its website about people who break the law on standing during a football match, and insisted it must act to protect the safety and the view of other fans.


It said it has received an "increasing number of complaints", particularly from fans in the South Stand, which say the game is being spoiled by others who stand throughout the 90 minutes.


Thirty-eight fans have been ejected from the Stadium of Light so far, compared to just 20 last season, the club reports.


The club's head of safety and security Paul Weir said: "We certainly don't wish to spoil the enjoyment of any supporters, we want a vibrant lively matchday atmosphere just as much as the fans do, but we also have legal obligations that we must be seen to be adhering to.


"We also have a duty of care to all of our supporters, including elderly and disabled fans who have contacted us very concerned that their enjoyment on a match day is being compromised because people around them stand throughout the game.

"Naturally we want to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone at the Stadium of Light and we'd ask supporters to listen to requests from stewards and help us to eradicate persistent standing for the sake of all fans."


There has been a mixed reaction on the Sunderland fans' Ready to Go online forum, with some welcoming the club's stance but others complaining the move will discourage a noisy atmosphere at the ground.


I can't see how this helps the atmosphere at any football stadia. With the current momentum actually behind clubs to consider the possibility of reinstating safe standing sections, surely this will just discourage fans from attending altogether?

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