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Lib Dems: Goalposts have moved on safe standing

by Steve Beasant on 1 June, 2018

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has today urged the Government to think again on its opposition to safe standing in the top two tiers of English football.

The call follows proposals to introduce safe standing at Oxford United Football Club, one of Ms Moran’s local football clubs.

Concerns have been raised that if Oxford, and other clubs like it, were to be promoted to the top two tiers of English football then any safe standing would need to be removed.

Ms Moran lodged a parliamentary question to ask if a mechanism was in place to prevent this, but in response the Government reiterated its opposition to safe standing.

Commenting, Ms Moran said: 

“Clubs that have listened to fans and introduced safe standing should not be penalised if they get promoted.

“Safe standing offers supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets. It is allowed in many other sports and Liberal Democrats believe top level football should not be the exception.

“These proposals should not be side stepped. It is past time that there was recognition, particularly from Government, that the goalposts have moved on safe standing.”

Ms Moran added:

“All eyes will be on ministers when Parliament debates this issue next month.”

Notes:

Safe-standing in the Premier League and Championship will be debated in Parliament on 25 June, following a petition signed by over 110,000 people.

Ms Moran’s written parliamentary question (Football: Safety: Written question – 145400) is below.

Layla Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether a mechanism is in place to allow a football club that has introduced a safe standing area to retain that area if it is promoted to the top two tiers of English football.

Answered by Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society:

The government’s all-seater stadium policy precludes the use of standing accommodation at clubs in the top two tiers of English football.

Spectator safety at sports grounds remains the priority for Government. The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing and advising on safety at sports grounds.

The government will continue to learn from the latest data, research, and advances in technology to improve the safety of spectators, but we have yet to see robust evidence of a safer approach to protecting spectators at football matches than the existing all-seater arrangements.

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