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.