House of Commons Library

Standing at football

Published Wednesday, January 30, 2019

This Library briefing paper looks at calls for the introduction of safe standing at football 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 July 2011, the Scottish Premier League relaxed its requirement that clubs had to provide all-seated accommodation. Celtic opened a safe standing section in July 2016. This accommodates nearly 3,000 supporters.

Calls for change

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

The English Football League (EFL) and FSF ran a “Stand Up for Choice” survey between 27 April and 10 May 2018. The results were announced on 1 June 2018 and showed that 94% of fans believed they should be able to choose whether to sit or stand at EFL matches.

In 2018, a petition calling for safe standing at Premiership and Championship grounds was signed by over 112,000 people. It was debated in the House of Commons on 25 June 2018.

The Government’s view

On 25 June 2018, during the debate on the safe standing petition, the then Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch, acknowledged the increasing support for a change to the current policy. She announced that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was commissioning an external evidence review to inform any decision on changes to the all-seater requirement.

In a January 2019 written response, the DCMS said that it expected to receive the final report of the review’s findings “shortly”. In the same response, the DCMS said that it believed that all-seater stadia were the best current means to ensure the safety and security of fans. However, the DCMS would consider relevant advances in technology and data.





Commons Briefing papers SN03937

Author: John Woodhouse

Topic: Sports and Olympic Games

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