A campaign launched by the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) for the introduction of ‘Safe Standing' sections in English football stadiums has gathered momentum with Birmingham MP Roger Godsiff, Aston Villa and Peterborough giving their support to idea.
Aston Villa are the first Premier League club to publicly back the campaign to hold small scale trails of the scheme with a view to implementing safe standing if the trail proves to work safely. The trails would need a change in the Football Spectators Act 1989, brought in after the Hillsborough disaster.
Premier League clubs have now sounded out supporter groups to get their reaction to the idea and it seems to be receiving a positive response with the majority of fans in favour of testing the scheme out in their teams stadium.
The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 changed the way our football stadiums once were, nobody wants a repeat of that tragedy in which 96 innocent people cruelly lost their lives. The recent verdict in the 'Justice For The 96' campaign found that West Yorkshire police were to blame on that fateful day for their failure to control the situation they were presented with.
Last year the Hillsborough Family Support Group opposed any move to bring back standing areas. The Safe Standing campaign is not intended to anger or upset any of the families who fought so hard and long for justice, its something that is looking to be implemented because it has already proved that it can work successfully, most notably in Germany.
It seems that people opposed to the idea think that stadiums will revert back to all standing stadiums that is not the intention and will never happen, I believe supporters should have the choice to stand or sit. Most away supporters at Premier League matches stand for 90 minutes during games, and that’s Liverpool supporters included, surly it is more of a safety issue to stand in a seated area? If you were standing with a safety bar in front and behind you, you would have to agree it would be safer?
Safe Standing would help football clubs increase attendances and turnover without spending millions on redeveloping their stadium or relocating to a new area, cheaper standing tickets could also appeal to supporters who have been priced out of watching their beloved team due to rising ticket prices.
I believe it is a no-brainer; Safe Standing must be given a chance to show how it can run successfully. People who are against the idea seem to be living in the past, our stadiums today are policed and stewarded to a good level and football clubs would have a responsibility and duty of care monitoring standing areas to ensure that safety is the main priority.
If a trail run is successful Safe Standing could be implemented in English football stadiums in 2015, the main battle now is convincing the people who are against the idea that it will work and that it will enhance our overall atmosphere, which lets face it, has been on the decline since the introduction of the all-seater stadium.
Where do you stand on Safe Standing? Are you for or against the idea?
By Kevin Ashford @KevinAshford7