Safe Standing Campaign Reaches Parliament

The aftermath of the Taylor report following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 led to the introduction of the all seater rule at major football grounds throughout the UK.

The regulation, clearly designed by folk who have never sat in the open for a couple of hours in the worst of a Scottish winter, has been a long festering irritant to many who prefer to watch their football on their feet.

No one advocates a return to the steep banked, poorly constructed terraces of old but there is a campaign which aims to re-introduce safe standing areas for those who wish to exercise choice.

The police and stewards at Pittodrie don't seem to have a problem with the lads who stand beside the seating in Section Y of the South Stand, which tells its own story.

‘Breaches' of the regulations like this are seen week in and week out despite the persistent refusal by the both the football authorities and governments north and south of the border to bend the rules.

However it is not always so amicable, as there is often unnecessary tension between police or stewards and supporters at away games, and occasionally on the 'Y' when there is stricter policing. Ironically thousands and thousands of the Tartan Army saw Scotland beat France at the National Stadium and their seats were used only at the half time break.

The Federation of Football Supporters (FSF) and Stand Up Sit Down have been beating the drum for a number of years and the momentum is building. The latest development is in the House of Commons.

Mike Hancock the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, has put forward the following Early Day Motion EDM101:

That this House urges the Government to re-examine the case for introducing small, limited sections of safe standing areas at football grounds; further urges the Government to recognise that there is widespread support for such areas, and that improvements in stadium design and technology mean that with rigorous safety specifications standing areas could be safely re-introduced; and calls on the Minister concerned to convene a meeting of representatives of the police, supporters, Premier League clubs and the Football Licensing Authority to find a way forward.

Although the Motion is targetted at the institutions in England, it is worthy of support from all who hope, some day, to be able to Stand Up rather than Sit Down.

The motion has, at the time of writing, been signed by three other MPs, Bob Russell (Lib Dem for Colchester), Nigel Evans (Conservative for Ribble Valley) and John Hemming (Lib Dem for Birmingham Yardley). Click HERE to see the Early Day Motion and list of MP's who have signed.

If you support a return to safe standing inside our grounds then contact your own Member of Parliament to ask them to support the Early Day Motion EDM101. Click HERE to find details of your MP and how to contact him/her.

The next step is send any replies you receive to the FSF's Phil Gatenby. You can EMAIL it to Phil or alternatively post it to him at the following address:

Phil Gatenby
Football Supporters Federation
Fans' Stadium – Kingsmeadow
Jack Goodchild Way
422a Kingston Road