Over 100 members of Parliament in the UK have signed a motion to urge the British government to re-examine the case for the introduction of safe standing areas at football grounds across Britain.
The measure is also supported by David Cameron (see video), the Conservative leader who is Tony Blair’s main opposition.
Not to be confused with open terracing, the motion recommends that fans be allowed to stand next to their seats in small areas of the ground. If you watched the Liverpool against Everton match from Saturday, you may have heard the PA announcer asking fans to sit down. This has been pervasive throughout the Premiership where fans have reportedly been ejected for standing instead of seating.
As well as creating a louder atmosphere, proponents of the safe standing areas argue that it’s better for football fans who prefer to sit. For example, right now if sections of the crowd decide to stand, the people behind them – who prefer to sit – can’t see the match.
The system is being modeled after Bundesliga, which has embraced seating but has allowed fans to stand in certain sections. See the above picture at Werder Bremen for an example of how the stadium is built to allow for safe standing.
The other argument in favor of safe standing is that ticket prices in these areas would be reduced allowing the working class to be able to afford to go to matches.
While I agree with the motion, I don’t see it passing. Premiership clubs would not be in favor of reducing ticket prices (it’s amazing how quiet the clubs have been since Blackburn came out strongly in favor of reduced prices). I also believe the Premiership clubs would prevent safe standing from happening because they feel that more policing and stewards would be necessary if fans became unruly. Let’s hope my predictions are wrong.
More information about the campaign can be found here and here. And if you agree with the safe standing motion, sign the petition.