- Manchester United and Chelsea will be among five football clubs participating in a safe-standing trial beginning January 1.
According to the sports minister, Manchester United and Chelsea will be among five football clubs participating in a safe-standing trial beginning January 1, Over 25 years after standing was outlawed in Britain.
Premier League champions Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, and Championship side Cardiff have all had their bids to operate certified safe-standing areas accepted.
Following the 1989 Hillsborough catastrophe, which resulted in the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans, legislation was passed outlawing standing zones in the English Premier League and Championship.
“I’m delighted to accept these five clubs as early adopters of permitted safe standing spaces for the second part of the season,” Nigel Huddleston, the minister, said.
“Now is the time to adequately test safe standing in the Premier League and EFL (English Football League) Championship before deciding on a wider roll-out,” says the statement.
“Security is crucial, and the SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) is collaborating closely with the clubs on this.”
The trial will be observed independently, and the results will be presented to the British government, which will decide whether or not to expand the use of safe standing for the next season.
Chief Constable Mark Roberts, Britain’s football policing chief, has criticised the “headlong rush” to reestablish standing zones.
“My concern is that you get over-migration into the area because it is appealing to some supporters and easier when they are standing up,” he told The Times newspaper.
“There’s a chance you’ll have overpopulation concerns.” You may see a more male-dominated crowd, as well as fewer children and older people. In terms of language and behaviour, this will lead to greater exclusionary behaviour.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said the club had been a driving force in lobbying the government for safe standing and was thrilled that it has now been granted.
“It gives people attending the game an option, whether they are home or away supporters, and the vast majority of our fans embrace this arrangement,” he stated.
“We are quite pleased with our safe seating’ design, which assures both comfort and safety for both standing and sitting fans while preserving the same aesthetics as the rest of the stadium.”
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