MP outlines plans to allow safe standing

Safe standing football SUS-140826-151412001
Safe standing football SUS-140826-151412001

Polegate and Seaford MP Norman Baker says safe standing should be allowed at football clubs in the top divisions.

Under manifesto plans unveiled by the Liberal Democrats, Mr Baker thinks the UK should follow in the footsteps of its European counterparts, many of whom already allow safe standing.

The system already operates in domestic football leagues in Germany, Austria and Sweden and he claims the scheme is backed by 92 per cent of football fans and 70 per cent of football clubs in the UK.

Under the plans clubs would be allowed to work with their supporters to introduce standing areas, which provide better atmospheres and allow clubs to offer cheaper safe standing season tickets.

“The Liberal Democrats believe football clubs should be allowed to introduce safe standing areas where there is a desire to do so,” he said.

“Safe standing is allowed in many other sports and we do not believe that the top level of football should be an exception.”

The idea has been met with stiff opposition in some quarters due to previous tragedies such as Hillsborough in 1989. All-seater stadiums were made compulsory for teams in the top-tier of English football at the start of the 1994-95 season as a result.

“We are not calling for a return of the terraces of the 1980s.

“Modern safe standing areas using ‘rail seating’ operate very successfully in top tier football across Europe,” Mr Baker added.

“When clubs and fans are in favour of safe standing and it can be done safely, then the Government shouldn’t get in the way. That is why Liberal Democrats want to change the law to let clubs introduce safe standing.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets.

“It is an idea whose time has come and I am proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who are the first political party to commit to delivering this.”