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 appropriate 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.


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 on the price of standing tickets, but 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 congestion on an airline which wants to reduce the cost of flying with passengers crammed onto flights.  The passengers are 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.




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.