Newcastle United fans allowed ‘safe standing’ at 3 Premier League games this season – Official announcement
Newcastle United fans will be safe standing at some matches in the remainder of this season.
The news conveyed in an official announcement from the Government.
Who confirmed that as from 1 January 2022, five clubs are to be allowed to have a safe standing trial for the rest of this 2021/22 season.
The trials will take place at the home stadiums of Championship club Cardiff City, as well as four Premier League outfits – Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham.
Which means that some Newcastle United fans can look forward to be safe standing at Chelsea (currently Saturday 12 March), Tottenham (currently Saturday 2 April) and Man City (currently Saturday 7 May). United having already played away at Man Utd this season.
Great news that this, as expected, has been given the final Government go ahead. These trials at a limited number of stadiums surely then leading to all stadiums in the Premier League and Championship then able to introduce safe standing areas.
Just a shame though, that like pretty much everything else whilst he was at St James Park for fourteen and a half years, Mike Ashley had zero interest in enabling this to happen for Newcastle fans at home this season.
No doubt the media will be trying to lay the blame for this at the door of the new Newcastle United owners, just like pretty much every other single problem that those new NUFC owners face.
However, clubs that wanted to be part of these 2021/22 safe standing trials, had to apply to be an ‘early adopter’ by Wednesday 6 October 2021 at the very latest.
That date ironically being the very day before Mike Ashley finally sold the club to the Saudi PIF led consortium.
Tottenham Official Announcement – 8 November 2021:
We are delighted to announce that Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has received approval for licensed safe standing in seated areas from 1 January, 2022, following an announcement from the Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, today.
We join Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United as the first clubs in the top two tiers of football in England and Wales to allow standing in nearly 30 years, pioneering a new approach which offers fans the choice to stand in certain areas of our stadium.
For many years, fans have campaigned for standing to be reintroduced and today’s historic announcement is a vital step towards fulfilling the Government’s manifesto commitment to introducing licensed safe standing areas at all-seater football grounds.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been selected following an application process, open to all grounds covered by the all-seater policy, led by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA).
Over the remainder of the 2021/22 season, research will be carried out at the five ‘early adopter’ grounds by CFE Research, to evaluate the implementation of the licensed standing areas. This research will be provided to Government to inform its decisions about the potential wider roll-out of licensed standing from the start of next season.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opened with areas future-proofed for safe standing in its South Stand and away supporter section.
Our ‘safe seating’ design provides the same comfort and leg room as in all other areas of the stadium, with an ergonomically profiled bar set at 900mm for clear sightlines. The seat in its folded position is slim, allowing the stepping clearway to be maximised, with a purpose-designed lock to ensure the seat can be stowed when required.
Chairman, Daniel Levy, said: “The Club has led on lobbying the Government for safe standing at stadia and is delighted that this will now be possible. It delivers choice for fans attending the game – whether home or away supporters – and the vast majority of our fans are in favour of this scheme. We are extremely proud of our ‘safe seating’ design, which ensures both comfort and safety, whether standing or seated, while maintaining the same aesthetics as in all other areas of the stadium.”
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “I’m pleased to approve these five clubs as early adopters of licensed safe standing areas for the second half of the season. The time is now right to properly trial safe standing in the Premier League and EFL Championship ahead of a decision on a widespread roll-out. Safety is absolutely paramount and the SGSA is working hand-in-glove with the clubs on this. Fans deserve different options on how they can enjoy a live match and I will be watching the progress of these trials with interest.”
Chief Executive of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), Martyn Henderson, said: “The focus of the SGSA is the safety of all fans at sports grounds. We know there is a safety risk arising from fans who persistently stand in seated areas, demonstrated in independent research. We also know many fans want the choice to stand. The advent of new engineering solutions and the findings from our research has shown this can be managed safely. Today’s announcement will enable us to properly test and evaluate licensed standing areas and advise the Government in its next steps. We are taking a careful, evidence-based approach to this historic change, again using independent researchers to evaluate any lessons to be learnt.”
Clubs had to meet a number of criteria in order to receive approval to have licensed standing areas, including:
The necessary infrastructure being in place before 1 January, 2022 – such as seats with barriers/independent barriers – which must be in both home and away sections.
The seats cannot be locked in the ‘up’ or ‘down’ position, allowing fans the option of being able to sit (for example, during breaks in play).
There must also be one seat/space per person.
The licensed standing areas must not impact the viewing standards or other fans, including disabled fans.
There must be a Code of Conduct in place for fans in the licensed standing area.
Briefing and training must be in place for staff and stewards to ensure only relevant ticket holders are admitted to the licensed standing areas.
CCTV must be in place and offer full coverage of the licensed standing areas.
The ground must consult with its Safety Advisory Group about plans for the licensed standing areas.
Importantly, it is not a reintroduction of terraces in top flight grounds and other areas of our stadium will remain subject to the Government’s all-seater policy.
The introduction of licensed standing areas follows research conducted during the 2019/20 season, prior to the onset of the pandemic, which found that seats with barriers/independent barriers helped reduce the safety risks related to standing in seated areas.
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