April 20 – The English Premier League has asked for more evidence to convince them to support the introduction of safe standing after the country’s sports minister refused West Bromwich Albion permission to trial the idea.
Safe standing is currently outlawed following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster but there has been a growing campaign to re-introduce partial seating areas including an online petition..
“This subject is complex and nuanced and clearly requires more research,” said a Premier League statement. “The results so far suggest a majority of fans like the idea of standing areas in principle but only 5% want to stand for an entire match. Additionally, the majority want the option of being able to stand and sit.”
“Taking this into account, we understand and appreciate why the Minister for Sport would require far more evidence before considering a change to the current all-seater policy.”
In an angry response, England’s Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) said Crouch was “declaring war on fans” by turning a blind eye to safe standing.
“Tracey Crouch is not offering a solution,” said FSF’s Peter Daykin. “Forcing fans to sit down at all-seater stadiums doesn’t work, so by turning a blind eye to safe standing, she is basically telling them to solve the issue.”
A Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) spokesperson said that claim was “ridiculous” saying the safety of fans is “the government’s priority”.
A statement added: “We have no plans to change the all-seater policy but we will continue to monitor the issue of spectator accommodation and the use of safe standing where it is permitted.”
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