safe standingStanding at football grounds is an inevitability. Attempts to make fans sit down are frustrating for both supporters and stewards, sometimes leading to unnecessary hostility and ruining the matchday experience for fans.

But it needn’t be like this. Clubs across Europe have successfully implemented safe-standing sections in which fans can enjoy the match without the unnecessary frustration caused by stewards’ attempts to enforce a rule very few people in football agree with – including the stewards themselves in most cases.

The video below shows an example of the “rail seat” system used by clubs throughout Europe (mostly Germany), a safe-standing system introduced to a section of the stadium in which fans want to stand up and enjoy the game

The Football Supporters Federation, along with a host of English football clubs and the whole of the Scottish Premier League are petitioning MP’s to allow such areas to be introduced here in the UK.

An Early Day Motion (EDM) has been filed with the Government, supported so far by 67 MP’s, including Greg Mulholland and Fabian Hamilton from Leeds.

While Mulholland and Hamilton’s support is great to see, the EDM still needs further support. 6 of Leeds’ MP’s have yet to sign the EDM, including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls (Morley and Outwood).

We urge all Leeds United fans who’d like to see Safe Standing introduced at Elland Road to join the FSF’s campaign by contacting their MP and ask that they support Early Day Motion 573. A list of MP’s for Leeds and their contact details is available here. Everyone else can find contact details for your MP here.

If you’re a little stuck on what to say, I’d suggest you draw their attention towards the following list of reasons to support safe-standing, as penned by The FSF.

  • Popular support – nine out of ten supporters back the choice to sit or stand (FSF National Survey 2012). Every week thousands stand in seated areas supporting the team they love – they deserve proper safe standing areas.
  • Choice – everyone benefits as those who wish to stand can do while those who prefer to sit no longer have to worry about having their view blocked. Clubs should also have the choice to introduce safe standing areas if they see fit.
  • Safety – safe standing can be introduced within stringent safety standards laid down in the Government’s Green Guide. The Government does not claim that standing at football is inherently unsafe.
  • Flexibility – UEFA regs mean European competitions must be played in all-seater stadiums. Safe standing areas can be easily converted to and from seating so a club competing in Europe can go all-seater with minimum fuss.
  • Pricing – in both England and abroad ticket prices for standing areas are typically lower than in seated areas making the stadiums more socially inclusive.

Alongside the support of MP’s, The Football Supporters’ Federation also needs the support of football clubs and The Scratching Shed will be contacting Leeds United to bring the campaign to their attention. We urge other fans to do the same.

For more information on the safe-standing campaign, please visit the Football Supporters’ Federation website.

  • Deco LUFC

    Would love to see this at Elland Road, would make the atmosphere immensely better, the reason I’ve preferred away games is because of the increased noise with the standing so having this at Elland Road would be amazing, ticket prices would also create higher gates, presuming that those tickets would be slightly cheaper, GET THEM IN GFH, MOT

  • number1inyorkshire

    Safe standing is the way forward and it should be done at elland road both in the south stand ,north stand and in the away supporters bit ..
    Clearly around the world football fans in the past have stood to watch the game and they want to in the future it is THE common sense approach to football watching ..
    Having said that i want now to sit so the areas that are not safe standing areas should be kept that way and persistent standers should be warned and then removed if they continue to stand .

    • TSS

      That’s the best thing about it for me, it caters for both groups – those who want to stand, and those who want to sit but are constantly having their view blocked by others.

      Standing is going to happen no matter what the law is. It’s better for the government, football clubs and The FA to manage the issue, rather than attempting to outlaw it.

      • Tyler75

        Agreed TSS – its unarguable – give people the choice

  • Standing on the terrace has never gone away at London road, talking to away fans they enjoy the visit for this reason although our ground is not the best in the championship it is quite homely #UTP

  • “Flexibility – UEFA regs mean European competitions must be played in all-seater stadiums. Safe standing areas can be easily converted to and from seating so a club competing in Europe can go all-seater with minimum fuss.”

    We need not worry about this for a while. I’m all for the change though!

  • henrymouni

    We may all be laying down next season?

    Reuters) – The Middle Eastern owner of Leeds United has signalled that it is in talks to sell the former English Premier League soccer club it bought only in December.

    Dubai-based GFH Capital purchased the club from majority shareholder Ken Bates at the end of last year after negotiations that lasted for several months.
    GFH Capital board member Salem Patel told a news conference at the time that it would not spend “crazy money” to restore the Championship (second division) club to the elite Premier League.

    Accounts published last month by GFH Capital’s parent, Bahrain firm Gulf Finance House show that the new owner is preparing a swift exit.

    “The Group has an active plan to sell its stake in LUFC Holdings Limited, and accordingly, the asset and liabilities acquired were classified as held-for-sale and presented in the consolidated statement of financial position,” Gulf Finance House said in end-year financial statements dated Feb 21, 2013.

    It added that it had begun negotiations related to the sale of its stake since the end of last year.

    BARGAIN PURCHASE

    The accounts show a net cash payment of $33.226 million to buy the business last year. Reports in December said the cost of the Leeds deal could be up to 52 million pounds ($78.6 million), but that figure was not confirmed.

    In its accounts, Gulf Finance House booked a goodwill gain of $10.369 million on the deal, and said “the bargain purchase was due to pressure on the sellers to exit their holdings due to change in their business plans.”

    Leeds, which last won the English league title in 1992, are currently in 10th place in the Championship, outside the play-off spots for a lucrative Premier League spot.

    Contacted by Reuters, GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh declined to comment, referring queries to the club.

    The club declined direct comment but pointed to an article published in the Guardian newspaper last month which said the new owner was seeking investors and would prefer to sell a 30 percent stake. It would consider selling a majority if the buyer had the funds to bring success, the report added.

    In a message to fans on Leeds’ website dated Feb. 10, GFH Capital said it had rejected an offer for a majority stake in the club.

    “Although we continue to seek strategic investors, we will only bring on board those who we feel can make a positive contribution to the sustainable success of Leeds United.”

  • John

    I used to work as a steward at Elland Road a few years back and hated telling people to sit down- I felt so hypocritical asking people to sit down, when I wouldn’t myself if I was in the crowd. Management threatening to kick people out didn’t help much either.

    Safe Standing would be great and would love to see it bought back into grounds across the UK- if Rugby and other sports can do it, why not football!?!

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