Standing in Seated Areas
In 2013, we agreed a joint statement on standing in seated areas at football grounds with FA Premier League, Football League, Football Association, Core Cities Group, Football Safety Officers’ Association, and Association of Chief Police Officers.
This outlines the possible measures to tackle the issue of spectators standing in seated areas at Premier League and English Football League grounds.
The report identified some general principles relating to the management of persistent standing:
- It is preferable for standing in seated areas to be addressed primarily through the education, persuasion and positive management of spectators. However, such measures alone have not always achieved the desired results. To the extent that they continue to prove insufficient, they may need to be backed up by more robust action.
- This issue goes beyond safety, although safety is a major concern. It also encompasses customer care, crowd management and behaviour, and the relationship between clubs and their supporters. As such it cannot be resolved by a single agency but must instead be addressed in the round by the various responsible bodies acting together. The SGSA, the football authorities, the individual clubs and local authorities, and in some cases the police, all have a role to play.
- It is important that supporters are engaged in the process where possible and that they understand why the proposed action is both necessary and ultimately for their benefit. A heavy-handed approach that is perceived to penalise the innocent could be counterproductive and might exacerbate the situation. The measures taken should recognise that not all those who stand for prolonged periods do so out of choice. This may be their only means of seeing the game when other spectators around them are standing. Openness and transparency in how such issues are being managed is encouraged.
- The measures taken will vary according to the configuration of the ground, the number and type of spectators standing, their location and whether this is a one-off problem or one that lasts all season. The measures should flow from a detailed event specific risk assessment, and should be reasonable and proportionate. While recognising the need for a tailored approach dependent on circumstances, the degree of consistency at a national or strategic level will have an impact on the success of tackling this issue.