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Licensed standing

Licensed, safe standing allows fans to stand at some grounds subject to the all-seater policy, as long as certain criteria are met.

Safe standing in seated areas is permitted at SGSA licensed football grounds as long as the ground meets specific criteria.

We refer to this as licensed standing in seated areas.

These requirements are that only seated accommodation is to be provided for spectators at a designated football match (as part of the Government’s all-seater policy), except in areas of the ground where there are seats incorporating a barrier or seats with an independent barrier.

Plus, spectators are only to be admitted to watch a designated football match from seated accommodation, except where they are admitted to watch the designated football match from areas of the premises where there are seats incorporating a barrier or seats with an independent barrier.

To be clear, standing will only be permitted in those areas with the appropriate infrastructure in place. Other areas of a ground, without barriers, will remain subject to the Government’s all-seater policy.

Licensed standing criteria

Grounds interested in offering licensed standing must meet a set of criteria.

This has 16 points, covering issues such as:

  • 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.
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Licensed standing in seated areas criteria

Grounds wanting to offer licensed, safe standing must meet 16 criteria.

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SG01: Safe standing in seated areas

The Supplementary Guidance 01: Safe Standing in Seated Areas (SG01) highlights the positive benefits of installing either independent barriers or seats incorporating barriers in order to mitigate the risks of progressive crowd collapse. It also summarises the main design and safety management issues associated with such installations.

The second edition of the guidance was published in July 2022.

It has been developed to support the introduction of licensed standing in seated areas at football grounds in England and Wales.  However, it is applicable to all sports grounds.

The guidance outlines a number of a key considerations, including:

  • Management and decision making considerations
  • Design factors
  • Safety management factors
  • P and S Factor indicative questions for seated areas used for safe standing
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SG01: Safe standing in seated areas

Safe standing in seated areas is distinct both from persistent standing in seated areas and from safe standing in conventional terraced standing

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As of 31 January 2024, there are 14 grounds which have licensed, safe standing sections in:

Birmingham City FC, Brentford FC, Cardiff City FC, Chelsea FC, Derby County FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC, Newcastle United FC, Portsmouth FC, Queens Park Ranger FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC, Wembley Stadium and Wolvehampton Wanderers FC.

Research and timeline

All-seater grounds were introduced in the top two tiers of English football following Lord Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough disaster.  It applies to all clubs which have been in the Premier League or Championship for at least three seasons (in total, not concurrently) since 1994/95.  There are 63 grounds, plus Wembley and Principality Stadium, subject to Government’s all-seater policy (including those now offering licensed standing).

For a number of years, fans have campaigned for standing to be reintroduced.  Over the last few years, engineering solutions have been successfully used to mitigate known safety risks of persistent standing in seated areas.

Since that time, the SGSA has worked with the DCMS, football governing bodies, clubs and others to consider the safe introduction of standing at all-seater grounds.


DCMS commissioned an independent analysis of the available evidence relating to the all-seater policy and any gaps that exist in the data.  The report was published in October 2019.


In its 2019 manifesto, the Government committed to introducing safe standing. 

SGSA commissioned independent research on the nature and scale of standing at football, associated safety risks and how to mitigate them. The research took place over the 2019/20 season, before the start of the pandemic. 


SGSA published the emerging findings of the research commissioned into the safe management of standing at football.  This found that installing seats with barriers has a positive impact on crowd safety.


In September 2021, then Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston, announced that the SGSA was able to invite applications for early adopters of licensed standing in seated areas, to take effect from 1 January 2022. In doing so, clubs had to meet specific criteria.

The SGSA published Supplementary Guidance 01 (SG01): Safe standing in seated areas to support the implementation of barriers in seated areas.

The first five early adopters – Cardiff City FC, Chelsea FC, Manchester City FC, Manchester United FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC – were announced in November 2021.


From 1 January 2022, the trial of licensed standing commenced at the five early adopter grounds.

CFE Research was commissioned to conduct an independent evaluation of the trial. The results of this were published in June 2022.

On 4 July 2022, then Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston, announced that licensed standing would be allowed at all-seater grounds, as long as the specific criteria were met.

This was confirmed in a new statutory instrument – SI 2022/728 – revoking all existing all seater orders (23 in total) and replacing them with a single direction from the Secretary of State to SGSA imposing new requirements as respects the seating of spectators at designated football matches.


CFE Research was commissioned to conduct an evaluation of the first full season of licensed standing. This report was published in July 2023.

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