The Case Against Safe Standing

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The Case Against Safe Standing at UK Football Grounds




This page provide some arguments against ‘safe standing’ at British football grounds.  The introduction of all-seater stadiums reduced spectator congestion, with the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.  There was a reduction in the allocation of tickets to away-fans which was an appropriate measure to maintain crowd safety.


Concerns over the Introduction of Rail Seating


The movement towards rail seating can lead to 1.8 standing spaces for every seating space.  The problem is that safe standing attempts to increase the capacity of a football stadium with up to 80% more supporters than a seated area of a similar size.  This will increase congestion within a football ground.


The argument that safe standing is useful because it leads to lower prices for fans should be challenged. Safe standing could offer a 30% reduction in the price compared to seating tickets.  However, such lower prices should not come at the expense of spectator safety.  The football authorities should recognise that the capacity of football stadiums needs to be constrained to maintain safety standards.  This concern is similar to unease over congestion on airlines.  There is an airline which wants to reduce the cost of flying with passengers crammed onto flights; with customers expected to sit in a space available for a stool.   


Also, ‘safe standing’ has been justified on the grounds of a better atmosphere for supporters.  Again, the safety of spectators should take precedence over other factors such as an improved atmosphere for fans.




Safety considerations should take priority over the capacity and ‘atmosphere’ of a football ground.  Therefore, the current arrangements for all-seating in the top two divisions of English football should remain unchanged.  It is possible that safe standing is appropriate for football clubs in the third and fourth tiers where attendances and crowd congestion are lower. 


This writing supports the argument made by a relative of a victim of the Hillsborough disaster.  If seating had been in place instead of standing then this could not have happened.  Any form of standing is a step in the wrong direction.  


The Hillsborough disaster could have been avoided by also making sure that crowd safety was prioritised over crowd control.  The barriers to the pitch should never have been in place. If there was football hooliganism then games could have been televised, played behind closed doors or even prohibited.  Spectator safety had to be prioritised.