Can standing be safe? Football fans speak

17 Jan

Discontent is bubbling in the stands. Following the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, the Taylor Report recommended all-seater stadia for the top two football divisions, which the government made mandatory. It was thought that seating would eventually be accepted by fans but this has not always been the case.

In December, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster brought a bill before parliament to give all the clubs the freedom to build or maintain standing sections in their grounds if they choose. The Football Supporter’s Federation back the ideas with their Safer Standing campaign. Both Foster and the FSF claim that it is possible to reinstate standing without compromising on safety.

I am a complete outsider to the world of football so it’s nervously I enter an east London pub at half time in the Tottenham Hotspurs V Manchester United game yesterday to speak to fans about their opinions. I needed have worried as, once I explained what I want to talk about, most people were keen to give their views on a subject close to their hearts.

Ellie, 44, a Bristol Palace fan had a tale to tell of how she broke her arm at a game.

But Jack, 31, had fond memories of standing at Arsenal as a child.

And Everton fan Tony, 55, thought the lessons had now been learned from Heysel and Hillsborough.

Watch the interviews here: http://www.youtube.com/user/britishsafetycouncil

A longer article about the question of safer standing will appear in February’s Safety Management.

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