Five football clubs in England and Wales will be the first to have licensed ‘safe standing’ in seated areas from 1 January 2022, the Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has announced.
The Premier League’s Chelsea FC, Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC, Tottenham Hotspur FCwill be joined by Cardiff City FC from the EFL Championship for the trial.
The five clubs will be the first in the top two tiers of football in England and Wales to allow standing in nearly 30 years. They will pioneer a new approach, which offers fans the opportunity to stand in certain areas.
The change builds on the success of the Government’s all-seater policy, brought in following the Lord Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster.
For many years, fans have campaigned for standing to be reintroduced. Independent research conducted recently has identified the safety risks related to persistent standing in seated areas.
It has also evidenced the positive impact engineering solutions, such as seats incorporating barriers or independent barriers, can have.
The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) said the historic announcement is a vital step towards fulfilling the Government’s manifesto commitment to introducing licensed safe standing areas at all-seater football grounds.
The grounds have been selected following an application process, open to all grounds covered by the all-seater policy, led by the SGSA.
I'm pleased to approve these five clubs as early adopters of licensed safe standing areas for the second half of the season. The time is now right to properly trial safe standing in the Premier League and EFL Championship ahead of a decision on a widespread roll-out. Safety is absolutely paramount and the SGSA is working hand-in-glove with the clubs on this. Fans deserve different options on how they can enjoy a live match and I will be watching the progress of these trials with interest.
PSAM editor John Sheehan caught up with Yves De Cocker, Managing Director of PitchTecConcept, who explains how his company bridges the gap between sports organisations and the technology used in the playing surface industry.
The interview covers:
Yves 20+ years industry leading experience in the evolution of hybrid grass, trends he has noticed and some of the notable projects he has been involved with
The key reasons for Yves launching PitchTecConcept
Common mistakes often made with playing surface management
The steps he offers as a bridge between the industry and the end user
Advice to clubs looking to maximise their event calendars without compromising on the performance of their playing surface