Date: 6th October 2016 at 11:19pm
Written by:

Brighton confirmed yesterday that they would be investigating the prospect of having safe standing areas inside of the Amex Stadium in the future.

With fans across the country long calling for a sensible reintroduction of standing, Brighton have already begun the process of looking into such a move following the EFL announcing in February 2014 that they would be open to hearing wider discussions and the Football Association themselves have now indicated that they will hold discussions in the near future with the Government about a change to the regulations – FA Chairman Greg Clarke has long been an advocate of safe standing.

Chief Executive Paul Barber has already been on fact finding tours of Borussia Dortmund and Celtic with their rail seating that is proposed as a safe way forward, and he explained that the views of Brighton fans will be sought over the coming weeks as the club come to a conclusion.

The statement from the club explained that we could only do something about it should there be a legislation change, but that wouldn’t be the only factor.

‘Albion will evaluate the possibility of introducing safe standing to a small section of the Amex based on several factors. Aside from a change to legislation, and securing support from its Safety Advisory Group, the club will also need to look at the cost of installation, where it might be feasible inside the stadium, the potential impact on crowd behaviour and atmosphere, and a range of other commercial considerations.’

Barber himself told the Official Site.

‘The Amex is currently one of the best and most modern all-seater stadia in Europe with an outstanding record for crowd behaviour and safety. Safe standing has not been high on our agenda simply because of the government legislation ruling against it, but there now appears to be more of an appetite for change and, if this proves to be the case, we want to fully understand the implications for our club and stadium as early as possible. At our most recent football club board meeting I presented to the club’s chairman and directors some initial background, based on my own personal visit to Dortmund for a match and a very informative meeting at Celtic with senior members of their operations team, architects, engineers and safety experts a couple of weeks ago.’

He added.

‘Having personally experienced rail seating for a game at Borussia Dortmund, it is a very different experience to the terracing of old, but it does offer a safe alternative to those who wish to stand at football. Celtic’s system is slightly different – it’s one standing place replacing one seat – but it’s something we want to look at further and, as a progressive club which puts the match day experience very high on our list of priorities for fans, we want to be well prepared for any changes which may come. An important part of this preparation and process is that we want to hear what our fans think.’

What he does already know is that a large number of fans would welcome it, but there are issues.

‘In terms of setting expectations, it’s already clear from our initial research that the introduction of safe standing to any area of our stadium would not increase the capacity of the Amex and it would not allow us to reduce ticket prices in any standing area. From an economic point of view, the capital cost of a safe standing installation is substantial, and particularly so in a new stadium which already has seen considerable investment in state of the art, very comfortable, seating. How we might fund such a project is one of the very important considerations we must debate.’

For more details on rail seating, please click the above link.

Greg Clarke himself is quoted as saying.

‘I’ve been a fan of safe standing. In the end, if people want to stand and you can make it safe for them to stand, why wouldn`t you let them? We need to find a way over time to convince the government there won`t be public order issues, it will be safe, it will be controllable.’

Brighton Bloggers

Join The Vital Debate