Date: 20th November 2006 at 1:08pm
Written by:

Standing has been banned at English football grounds for a number of years now, following a report into their safety after many Liverpool supporters were crushed to death at Hillsborough. However, many have since come to the conclusion that it was not the fact that the area was standing that the disaster was caused, but that it was due to poor planning, policing and design.

Lessons have been learned from Hillsborough and major steps taken to improve safety, but a total ban is neither necessary nor workable. Properly managed terraces – holding a controlled number of people and with no fences – are perfectly safe. Standing is still very popular in Germany, with Borussia Dortmund`s ground holding 60,000 in it`s terracing areas when full. Due to safe modern designs, good planning and strong stewarding accidents occur no more often than they do with all-seater stadia in England.

Peter Caton set up supporters’ organisation Stand Up Sit Down last year to try to get a common-sense compromise. He proposes that sections of grounds should be put aside for those who wish to stand. Safety would be improved by allocating the most suitable areas to those who continue to stand and separating those who wish to stand from those who prefer to sit would mean no more blocked views.

Lord Justice Taylor conceded that standing areas were not intrinsically unsafe. It is time to accept that the current regulations are unworkable and that managed standing areas should be introduced.

Now, Mike Hancock MP has put down an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling for the introduction of safe standing areas. It reads as follows:

‘That this House urges the Government to re-examine the case for introducing small, limited sections of safe standing areas at football grounds; further urges the Government to recognise that there is widespread support for such areas, and that improvements in stadium design and technology mean that with rigorous safety specifications standing areas could be safely re-introduced; and calls on the Minister concerned to convene a meeting of representatives of the police, supporters, Premier League clubs and the Football Licensing Authority to find a way forward.’

A number of Clarets websites are supporting this initiative in addition to Vital Burnley FC including The Longside,Burnley Ultras and UptheClarets. We urge fans to both sign the Stand Up Sit Down petition and write to their local MP regarding the issue of standing at football.

Stand Up Sit Down

http://www.standupsitdown.co.uk/

Write To Your MP

http://www.writetothem.com/