Licensed standing continues to improve safety
One year on from the introduction of licensed standing at football grounds, new research from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) confirms the positive impact for fans and clubs.
The findings come as Newcastle United FC prepares to join the growing number of clubs offering licensed standing. The new research found at least 18 grounds planned to offer standing accommodation within the next three years.
The evaluation, conducted independently by CFE Research, found that when barriers or rails are installed, forward movement is prevented which reduces the safety risks of fans falling on others around them. It also found:
- Aisles and gangways were kept clearer, as fans were more aware of their space.
- The infrastructure offered stability for fans who may be unsteady on their feet whilst standing for long periods of time.
- A more positive relationship between stewards and fans.
Martyn Henderson OBE, Chief Executive of the SGSA, said: “We welcome the confirmation that licensed standing continues to have a positive impact on the safety of fans. Not only do fans now have the choice of whether to sit or stand at these grounds, the licensed standing areas offer an improved experience for all.”
There are nine grounds that offer licensed standing. The evaluation concentrated on three of these grounds, and included interviews with the club and local police.
The Government made the historic change of policy last summer, following a trial at five early adopter clubs from January 2022 – Cardiff City FC, Chelsea FC, Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC. It was implemented following campaigns by fans and extensive research and consultation.
Clubs must meet strict criteria to offer licensed standing areas in their grounds. The research found this continued to be reasonable and fit for purpose, and includes:
- The necessary infrastructure – such as seats with barriers/independent barriers – which must be in both home and away sections.
- Fans must be able to sit or stand in the licensed areas – the seats cannot be locked in the ‘up’ or ‘down’ position.
- 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.
The SGSA will continue to monitor and evaluate the progress of standing, as more clubs become licensed to offer it to fans over the coming seasons.
Read the full research: Licensed standing in football stadia: Post-implementation evaluation – July 2023