Standing areas on Premier League grounds will be allowed from January

Soccer Football – Premier League – Aston Villa v Everton – Villa Park, Birmingham, Great Britain – September 18th 2021 General view inside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers

LONDON, September 22 (Reuters) – Fans will be allowed to appear at selected Premier League and English league pitches from next year as part of a pilot program, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority said on Wednesday (SGSA) of the United Kingdom.

The security position is expected to be tested from January 1 after the UK government asked SGSA to take the first steps to create authorized parking zones on the lot.

The introduction of standing areas would mean the end of the First Two Divisions “Seating Stadiums” Act, introduced 25 years ago following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

“We have made it clear that we will work with fans and clubs to introduce a secure stance on football fields provided it is proven that installing seats with barriers will have a positive impact on crowd safety.” Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said.

“With independent research now complete and tons of capabilities returning to the fields across the country, now is the time to move forward. I look forward to hearing from any clubs that wish to be part of our early adoption program. “

Clubs would have to meet certain criteria to gain approval, including having the “necessary infrastructure” in the home and away areas of their stadium.

Premier League clubs Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers have had rail seats installed on their grounds, allowing them to have supporters standing or seated in certain areas.

Campaigners have long called for a return to safe waiting areas and the move has been hailed by the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

“There is a tradition of standing supporters during matches, as this increases choice, improves the atmosphere and ensures the safety of supporters when they are accommodated in properly managed and authorized standing areas,” the organization said in a statement. communicated.

Jon Darch of the Safe Standing Roadshow said it was a step in the right direction.

“I hope this will in due course allow all clubs to offer fans the choice of watching the matches sitting or standing,” he told Reuters.

Report by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru, edited by Christian Radnedge and Ed Osmond

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