Lib Dems would re-introduce standing at top-flight football for first time since Taylor Report
The Liberal Democrats are announcing they would re-introduce standing at top-flight football if they got into Government.
The party say it is “time to shift the goalposts on safe standing” and allow the practise for the first time since the Taylor Report, which followed the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, called for all-seater stadia.
Under their proposals all Premier League and Championship sides could install rail seating in parts of their ground and permit spectators to stand for the entirety of the match in those areas.
Standing at matches in the top two divisions ing England was phased out after the tragedy, in which 96 people died,.
The Taylor Report into the incident recommended a move to all-seater stadiums, and although the rules have since softened for lower and non-leagues, standing at Premier League matches is illegal, despite many fans still doing it.
The Government has commissioned the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to look into bringing it back, but a review published earlier this year said there was still a lack of evidence.
That delayed any trial of safe standing until at least next season, although both Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur have installed areas with rail seats at their stadiums in anticipation of it being allowed again.
The Lib Dems say is safely operates successfully across Europe, and their communities spokesman Tim Farron said it “provides a hat-trick of benefits to fans – more choice, a better atmosphere, and cheaper tickets”.
The party’s former leader and a Blackburn Rovers fan said: “It’s time to shift the goalposts on safe standing and give spectators something to cheer about.”
It comes after Labour revealed they will also re-introduce safe standing if it wins the election back in October.
Shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan said it would not be a “return to the terraces of the 1980s, but a modern and safe way for fans to stand”.
Writing for FourFourTwo magazine, she said: “Let me be clear: this is first and foremost about fan safety – the current system is just not working for supporters week in, week out.
“People are standing in unsafe seated areas, and accidents can – and do – happen.
“The options available, where appropriate, would be the installation of specialised rail seating, or standing in current seated areas where it can be made safe to do so by installing a barrier.
“Safe standing would also improve the matchday experience for those who want to sit but don't want their view blocked by someone standing in front of them.
“This is about giving fans a proper say.”