Sheffield will forever be linked with the tragedy at Hillsborough which took place on April 15 1989 where 96 Liverpool fans died at a football match. It changed the sport dramatically, with standing areas erased from the top level of the game, seemingly forever. Yet almost 25 years on, “safe standing” areas seem to be making a return.
The campaign has received backing from clubs at all levels of the game, with 70% of the 72 football league clubs and even Premier League clubs such as Manchester United all showing support for the return of safe standing areas.
So is it right? Some will say certainly not. Why go back to something which was partly to cause for so many deaths, especially when the current system has had no such issues? Why risk another disaster?
But, if it is introduced correctly, it should be welcomed back to the football world.
Standing at stadiums was not the sole reason behind the Hillsborough disaster. Poor policing, the conditions of the stadium and overcrowding have all been suggested as possible causes. With improvements in modern stadiums, better ways of policing and an improved standing system, thereshould be no reason why standing can’t be a safe way of watching a football match.
Despite laws against it, people still stand at football matches and clubs are powerless to stop it. A couple of stewards are not much use when you’re trying to get hundreds of football fans to sit down, no matter how good they are at their jobs.
The proposed seating system has also proved to be successful in foreign leagues, at some of the biggest stadiums in Europe. Stadiums which hold 60,000-plus have no problems at all. So why should it be any different here?
Another advantage would be cost. Standing tickets would probably be cheaper than seats. It would make sense for both clubs and fans. Fans get to enjoy watching their team for less, whilst clubs get higher attendances, and full stadiums. It is a win-win for everybody.
If there was any possiblity of anyone being in danger because of people standing at the football, I would be totally against it. But if it is 100% safe, standing areas would be a great addition to the modern game. And if you don’t want to stand up, you can keep sitting down. It’s perfect.