Safe Standing - what about the new Stadium? | Vital Football

Safe Standing - what about the new Stadium?

Welshtel

Vital Football Hero
#1
Having seen Liverpool fans vote overwhelmingly for safe standing at Anfield, do we think that Safe Standing is good and will our New Stadium be capable of being supplied with some safe standing from the off? (I think the answer to that must be no) or could it be adapted to supply us with it?

Would it increase the capacity of the Stadium?
Would our fans like standing capacity?
How do we feel about the safety factors?

Answers on a postcard please to ........
 
#3
Welshtel - 31/7/2017 15:07

Having seen Liverpool fans vote overwhelmingly for safe standing at Anfield, do we think that Safe Standing is good and will our New Stadium be capable of being supplied with some safe standing from the off? (I think the answer to that must be no) or could it be adapted to supply us with it?

Would it increase the capacity of the Stadium?
Would our fans like standing capacity?
How do we feel about the safety factors?

Answers on a postcard please to ........
Here is your postcard:

Background[edit]
Traditionally most football grounds in the United Kingdom had terraces at each end and often on lower tiers along each side. Most supporters watched football standing up. In the late 1980s the average standing capacity in grounds was roughly twice the number of seats.[1] Some football administrators saw the removal of terraces as a solution to a problem with hooliganism that had arisen in British society in the 1970s. Under the chairmanship of Jimmy Hill, Coventry City’s Highfield Road became England’s first all-seater football stadium in 1981. However, the experiment failed to prevent disorder or increase attendances and two years later seats were removed from part of the ground.[2]
On 15 April 1989 a crush on the Leppings Lane terrace of Hillsborough during an FA Cup semi final resulted in the deaths of ninety-six Liverpool supporters.[3] Overcrowding had resulted from a gate being opened on police instructions to relieve severe congestion outside the ground and failure to direct supporters away from the already full central pens.[4] Fences at the front of the terrace prevented fans escaping the crush.[5] The subsequent inquiry led by Lord Justice Taylor concluded that the immediate cause of the disaster was the failure to cut off access to the central pens when the gate was opened.[4] His report stated that the pens were already overfull because no safe capacities had been set and there was no effective way of monitoring crowd density.[6] Taylor showed that the turnstile access for Liverpool supporters was inadequate and that the congestion outside the ground was therefore predictable.[7] He was highly critical of South Yorkshire Police’s planning and performance on the day[8] and of the conduct of senior officers at the inquiry.[9]
Lord Taylor noted that the evidence he received was overwhelmingly in favour of more seating accommodation and that most was in favour of reversing the two thirds to one third standing / seating ratio.[1] The Taylor Report made 76 recommendations,[10] including that, after a given timescale, all stadia designated under the Safety of Sports Ground Act 1975 should admit spectators to seated accommodation only.[11] A number of his recommendations were not implemented, including all-seating for sports other than football.[12]
The 1989 Football Spectators Act contained a regulation requiring football grounds to become all-seated as directed by the Secretary of State.[13] This was to be overseen by the Football Licensing Authority[14] (now the Sport Grounds Safety Authority). In July 1992, the British Government announced a relaxation of the regulation for the lower two English leagues (known now as League One and League Two). The Football Spectators Act does not cover Scotland and although the Scottish Premier League chose to make all-seater stadia a requirement of league membership for some time, this rule was relaxed in December 2011.[15] In England and Wales all-seating is a requirement of the Premier League and of the Football League for clubs who have been present in the Championship for more than three seasons.
Forms of safe standing[edit]
The relevant UK guidelines for sports ground safety, the Green Guide, sets out the parameters for building and managing modern standing terraces. New stadia, such as Morecambe FC’s Globe Arena (opened in 2010) with standing for over 4,000 spectators and St. Helens rugby League club's Langtree Park (opened in 2012) with standing for almost 8,000, continue to be built with terraces and are operated safely in accordance with the Guide.
In addition to well-designed conventional terraces other forms of accommodation for standing spectators have been developed outside of the UK, which can also be considered options for the creation of safe standing areas. One country that has developed such alternative forms of standing accommodation is Germany. All German Bundesliga grounds permit standing and many have very large standing areas. Until as recently as 2004, for instance, top-flight German club Borussia Mönchengladbach's home stadium, the Bökelbergstadion, provided standing accommodation for over 25,000 fans and seats for under 9,000.[citation needed] Today, Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park (aka the Westfalenstadion) provides standing accommodation for 25,000 fans in its South Stand, which is commonly called the Yellow Wall.[16]
The standing accommodation at many German grounds is in the form of conventional terraces. The alternative forms of accommodation have been developed for those grounds at which not only domestic games are played, but also games under the jurisdiction of the sport’s European and/or world governing bodies, i.e. UEFA and FIFA respectively. Since the summer of 1998, UEFA has specified that all games in its competitions (at that time the Champions League and UEFA Cup, now the Europa League) must be played in all-seater stadia.[17] In order to continue to accommodate standing fans at domestic matches and yet be able to convert their stadia into all-seater facilities for UEFA games, the German clubs developed a range of solutions. Some clubs use more than one option.
Bolt-on seats[edit]
Several clubs adapt their grounds to UEFA all-seater requirements by bolting temporary seats to the steps of otherwise essentially conventional terraces and removing the crush barriers. After the UEFA match, the seats are then removed again and the barriers put back. Stadia that operate in this way include those of Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Fold-away seats[edit]
A small number of clubs adapt to the UEFA requirements by using seats that fold away under aluminium terrace steps. For domestic games such areas look like conventional terraces with intermittent crush barriers. For UEFA games the barriers are removed, the aluminium steps folded back and the seats flipped up. After the UEFA game, the procedure is reversed. German clubs using fold-away seats are Hamburg SV, VfB Stuttgart, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Bayer Leverkusen and FC Bayern Munich.
Rail seats[edit]

Rail seats in Klagenfurt, Austria
Almost half of the top-flight Bundesliga clubs convert standing areas to all-seater configuration by using rail seats. Each metal seat is incorporated within a robust metal frame that forms a waist-high rail for the spectators in the row behind. These seat frames are installed on a permanent basis with the same spacing as standard seats. The frames interlock to form a continuous high-strength rail along the full length of each row. Rail heights vary between 90 and 115 cm.[18] For domestic games the seats remain locked flush between the uprights of each frame, thus providing accommodation and maximum space for standing fans between rows of the waist-high rails. Prior to UEFA games, the seats are unlocked, thus transforming the area into all-seater configuration. After the UEFA game, the seats are locked again in the upright position ready for use by standing fans at the next domestic match. German clubs using rail seats include Werder Bremen, Hamburg SV, VfL Wolfsburg, Hannover 96, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund.
In July 2016, Celtic formally unveiled their new 2,600 capacity rail seating area within Celtic Park, becoming the first British club to do so. The club had obtained a "safe standing" certificate 13 months earlier after years of negotiations with supporters, football authorities and Glasgow City Council.[19][20][21][22]
Arguments for and against safe standing[edit]
A range of arguments are put forward in favour of all-seating and against the return of standing areas to the top divisions of football in England and Wales. Four, the issues of demand, safety, crowd disorder and diversity, are summarised below:
Demand[edit]
In 2011, the standard government reply to those writing to ministers and MPs stated, "Before any change in legislation there would have to be a very clear demand".[23]
Polls of supporters repeatedly show a clear majority favouring the choice to stand, with an average of around 80% supporting the introduction of standing areas in the top divisions.[23] In a poll by The Football Fans Census (January 2009) 92% of 2,046 respondents voted that fans should be given the choice to stand in safe standing areas. A similar survey, run by the Football Supporters Federation and reported upon on the BBC website on 17 August 2012, showed that 91.1% of fans want the choice to sit or stand.[24] A new survey in 2015 showed that 96% of football fans in the UK backed a safe standing pilot to trial modern stadium technology.[25]
According to Peter Caton in his book Stand Up Sit Down, demand for standing is also illustrated by the number of supporters who stand in front of their seats in all-seater stadia, which in 2011 he estimated to be 65,000 per week.[26] Peter Caton goes on to claim that demand is also illustrated by the many examples at lower league clubs where a greater number of supporters often choose to stand than sit (e.g. Accrington Stanley, Burton Albion, Dagenham & Redbridge, Stevenage, Torquay United).[27]
Safety[edit]
Safety is commonly perceived to be the main reason for all-seating. The Taylor Report refers to capacity control, stating that seating allows those in charge to know the exact number of supporters in a particular part of a ground.[28] He also refers to swaying and surging, stating that these cannot occur in all-seated stadia,[28] where, he says, "involuntary and uncontrolled crowd movements occasioned by incidents in the game are effectively eliminated".[28]
This has been mitigated by access technology, as laid down by the Green Guide at all major UK football grounds. Longer crush barriers allow a far shorter unhindered run. With rail seats, where there is a barrier along every row, surging is physically impossible. The Taylor Report includes the statement made by the Technical Working Party, whose report Lord Taylor accepted, that "standing accommodation is not intrinsically unsafe".[29]
Crowd disorder[edit]
It has been argued[by whom?] that standing encourages crowd disorder.[citation needed] However, analysis of statistics on football related arrests and banning orders published by the UK Home Office[30] show that in both the 2008/9 and 2009/10 seasons the rate of arrest per 100,000 supporters was higher at League One and League Two clubs with all-seated grounds than at those with standing.[31] Overall arrest rates for football related offences have fallen steadily from 34 per 100,000 in 1988/89 to 9 per 100,000 in 2009/10, however the trend of reducing arrests started before stadia were required to become all-seated and has continued since.[31]
Diversity[edit]
It is sometimes said[by whom?] that all-seated stadia have led to increased diversity of those attending football matches.[32] It is true that more families attend matches than they did in the 1970s and 1980s when hooliganism was a major problem, but this increased diversity has occurred at grounds retaining terraces[32] as well. Increased prices, which are partly related to the lack of lower cost standing accommodation, has however led to a reduction in the number of teenage supporters attending football and an increase in the average age of crowds.[32] Level Playing Field (the trading name of the National Association of Disabled Supporters) has no objection in principle to safe standing areas per se, provided they do not impact on facilities / services for disabled fans or hinder their views or sightlines.[32]
 

Welshtel

Vital Football Hero
#4
'Hell of a big postcard '80. Of course everything's bigger over there (well almost everything - so I'm told) and you're succinct as usual, AND you don't half write quick and research even quicker!

I saw the report on the fold up seating but my main question was, will OUR supporters want standing accommodation and if so, will we be able to accommodate them?

I wonder how many more we can get to a game with some transfer to standing room, if any?

I would have thought that with a new 'up market' stadium, most fans would want a seated system but you never know. So I was curious. Maybe other posters will give us a clue.
 

meee93

Vital Champions League
#5
As a kid from Ireland experienced spending the summer going around different packed terraces in GAA grounds around the country, which are mostly, at least partially all "safe standing", I certainly don't have an issue with it being implemented.