Skip to content

Seats with barriers

Seats with independent barriers or incorporating barriers are used to combat the risks associated with persistent standing.

Seats with barriers are used to address the safety risks associated with persistent standing in seated accommodation.

The areas containing seats with barriers are widely known as safe standing areas. In ground’s subject to SGSA licensing, they require a specific licence.

The seats fall into two categories:

  • Seats incorporating barriers – where a barrier is part of the seating mechanism for the row in front.
  • Seats with independent barriers – where a barrier is fixed in front of conventional tip-up seats.

Our free guidance document – Supplementary Guidance 01: Safe standing in seated areas – builds on the content in the Green Guide around seats with barriers. It provides detailed information on management considerations and design factors on safe standing in seated areas.

Design factors

Design factors related to seats with barriers include:

  • Whether the seating area is existing or part of a new construction.
  • The viewing standards, to ensure that sightlines are sufficient to enable standing spectators and wheelchair uses to see the pitch or area of activity without straining.
  • The seat design, which should conform with the recommendations in Chapter 12 of the Green Guide.
  • The seating row depths and clearways meet the minimum requirements after the installation of independent barriers or seats incorporating barriers.
  • The seats widths, including the minimum seat widths for new and existing accommodation.
  • The space per spectator, ensuring that a spectator has sufficient space for the safety, comfort levels and the quality of their experience.
  • The rail design, fixing and loadings, in line with the requirements of the Green Guide.
  • The testing and seats and rails before spectators are admitted to the area in question.
  • The requirements of disabled spectators.

Safety management factors

Safety management factors for areas with safe standing include:

  • The need to draw up specific plans for the safe management of the area for vising supporters.
  • Effective ticketing approaches, including the identification and marking of seats and spaces.
  • The need for entry conditions and a Code of Conduct.
  • Effective entry restrictions and controls for areas of safe standing
  • The training of stewards for areas of safe standing.


The SGSA has commissioned a number of research reports in relation to seats with barriers, or seats incorporating barriers, at football grounds. This has helped to inform the Government’s policy on licensed standing.

This research has found:

Installing barriers or rails has had a positive impact on spectator safety in these areas, particularly in mitigating the risk of a progressive crowd collapse. 

Learn more
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly

Early adopters of licensed standing evaluation

Learn more

Safe management of persistent standing in seated areas

Learn more

SG01: Safe standing in seated areas

Learn more
Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Pre Season Friendly

Licensed standing

Learn more

Stay up to date