Twenty-eight years after the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy and the resulting Taylor Report, Football Association clubs are now considering the introduction of safe standing at their grounds; and football fans are right behind them.
While such implementation would require a change in law, the system is earning widespread public support following the successful operation of safe standing areas at clubs across Europe, including Scottish Champions Celtic last season.
In a new Sports Marketing Intelligence (SMI) poll, 81% of football fans showed general support of the concept, with only 14% believing it to be a step backwards in stadium safety.
Safe standing has become a contentious issue as more Football Association clubs consider the system as they plan for the future of their stadiums.
Premier League club West Bromwich Albion has offered to use The Hawthorns for a pilot scheme, while the likes of Middlesbrough and Shrewsbury Town are asking fans to have their say on the subject.
While the overwhelming majority of fans polled by SMI were in favour of safe standing, just over half of respondents (52%) believed it should only be implemented when specific safety criteria was met.
When the research was broken down by supporter types, those that attended stadiums showed stronger opinions for both ends of the scale while fans who watched from home were more in favour of regulated implementation (64% vs. 50%).
Following the findings and recommendations of the Taylor Report, a ban on standing in England’s top-two tiers of football has stood until this day.
(Poll undertaken by 300 active football fans in the UK).
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