Man City to install rail seats that could become safe-standing area

London (AFP) – Manchester City are to install more than 5,000 rail seats at the Etihad Stadium in order to take advantage of any potential change in the law to allow safe standing.

The work will take place before the start of the 2021/22 season, meaning there will be no disruption for supporters, who by then are expected to be able to return to matches after the coronavirus lockout.

Rail seats can be folded away and locked in position to create a safe-standing area with barriers.

All-seater stadiums have been mandatory in the top two tiers of English football since the 1994/95 season following recommendations on safety made in the Taylor Report.

The report was commissioned after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans after crushing on the standing-only terraces before their FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

But there has been a renewed push in recent years for safe standing to be brought back.

City, poised to win a third Premier League title in four seasons, believe introducing the rail seats now will enhance safety in an area already affected by persistent standing on matchdays.

Danny Wilson, managing director of Manchester City operations, said: “The development and installation of a bespoke rail seating system at the Etihad Stadium will not only improve supporter safety but also ensures that, until there is a change in legislation which permits safe standing, the matchday experience of supporters and seasoncard holders in the lower tier of the South Stand will remain unaffected.”

Tottenham and Wolves have already installed sections of rail seating.

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