House of Commons Library

Standing at football

Published Tuesday, May 1, 2018

This Library briefing paper looks at calls for the introduction of safe standing at grounds in the English Premier League and Championship.

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Current postition

From August 1994, under the Football Spectators Act 1989 (as amended), clubs in the English Premier League and Championship have been required to provide all-seated accommodation. This followed Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989.

The 1989 Act applies to England and Wales.

In Scotland, the Premier League made it a condition of membership that clubs had to provide all-seated accommodation. This requirement was relaxed in 2011. Clubs can apply to pilot safe standing areas. This requires the approval of the local authority.

Calls for change

The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) has been campaigning for the introduction of "safe standing".

The FSF and English Football League are running a “Stand Up for Choice” survey gathering the views of fans across the country. The survey closes on 10 May 2018.

A petition calling for safe standing at Premiership and Championship grounds has now been signed by over 100,000 people.

The Government’s view

In November 2017, in response to a parliamentary question, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said:

The Government believes that all-seater stadiums are the best means to ensure the safety and security of spectators at football grounds in England and Wales. All-seater stadiums have helped improve crowd management, crowd behaviour and policing. They provide better and more comfortable facilities to enjoy football matches, which has helped encourage inclusivity and diversity amongst those attending.

While we are committed to monitoring the developments at Celtic and Shrewsbury Town FC, Government is not, at present, persuaded by the case put forward to re-introduce standing accommodation in grounds covered by the all-seater requirement.

After the petition calling for the introduction of safe standing passed 100,000 signatures, sports Minister Tracey Crouch said that she was "grateful" for fans expressing their views and that: "This will now give me the opportunity to discuss at length the nuances and complexities of sports ground safety in Parliament, if and when the Petitions Committee agree to it being debated".




Commons Briefing papers SN03937

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Sports and Olympic Games

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