Safe Standing at football grounds should be an option

This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post and Glamorgan Gazette

In August last year, the Liberal Democrats announced that a plan to allow football clubs to work with their supporters to introduce safe standing areas would appear in their 2015 general election manifesto.

 

Safe standing already operates in domestic leagues across Europe, including Germany, Austria and Sweden.

70% of UK football clubs support safe standing and fans say standing provides a better atmosphere.

Watching football is expensive. Safe standing areas allow clubs to accommodate a higher density of supporters safely which can mean cheaper ticket prices for all.

Ticket prices for standing areas abroad are typically lower than in seated areas making the stadiums more socially inclusive. For example, standing season tickets at Bayern Munich begin as low as £150.

Supporter surveys regularly show that upwards of eight out of every ten fans back the choice to sit or stand at football. Choice is a key word here as no one is suggesting all fans should have to stand rather that those who would like to so should be able to do so in safety.

There is quite clearly a call for safe standing in Wales and across the UK more generally.

It is important that we get this right, and what we are definitely not calling for is a return to the terraces of the 1980s. What we have seen in top-tier football across Europe is ‘rail seating’ stands, which works very well.

Safe standing would offer supporters more choice, a better atmosphere in the stadium and even cheaper tickets. When so many clubs and their fans are in favour of this, the Government shouldn’t get in the way of it happening. That’s why we want to change the law to allow safe standing to become a reality.

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