Liverpool supporters vote in favour of safe standing

Liverpool fans have backed the idea of safe standing through rail seating in an online poll run by the club's Spirit of Shankly supporters' body. The result of the poll revealed 88 percent of the 17,910 people who voted were in favour of the introduction of rail seating.

By: Reuters | Published:July 31, 2017 11:43 pm
League One side Shrewsbury Town became the first English side to apply for safe standing at their home ground last month.

Liverpool fans have backed the idea of safe standing through rail seating in an online poll run by the club’s Spirit of Shankly supporters’ body.

Following a debate on the issue, the result of the poll on Monday revealed 88 percent of the 17,910 people who voted were in favour of the introduction of rail seating.

The system is used in Scotland at Celtic’s stadium in Glasgow where 2,900 seats can be lifted back and locked in place, allowing for fans to stand behind a railing and watch the game.

European governing body UEFA requires all-seater stadiums for teams competing in their Champions League and rail-seating allows the standing areas to be easily turned into seated areas for domestic games.

All-seater stadiums became mandatory in England’s top two divisions following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were killed in a crush at an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

Any changes to the existing legislation would require government approval as well as the backing of the football authorities.

“The vote is significant and we know people will see this as backing of rail seating,” Spirit of Shankly chair Jay McKenna said in a statement.

“However, we say to anyone who is campaigning for this to understand sensitivities and respect the views of those who disagree.

“No one wins here. This has been a mature and sensitive conversation and we have arrived at a position. Those who have been through incredible heartache and tragedy have every right to be heard and to ask important questions about safety.”

Standing on traditional terracing, without the rail-seating, is allowed in England’s third and fourth tiers and 21 clubs have such a set-up.

Some clubs in the lower leagues are looking at bringing in rail-seating to their all-seater venues under an agreement between the English Football League (EFL) and the Sports Ground Safety Authority.

League One side Shrewsbury Town became the first English side to apply for safe standing at their home ground last month.

West Bromwich Albion have told the Premier League that they would be willing to use the Hawthorns as a part of any pilot scheme for safe standing ahead of the new season.

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