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Calls for safe standing at Sheffield's football grounds

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, left
Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, left
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Sheffield football fans should be allowed to stand up at matches, says one of the city’s leading politicians.

Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of the Liberal Democrats, is a supporter of “safe standing” at football stadiums. A ban on standing in the top two divisions was introduced 20 years ago following the Hillsborough Disaster but it’s now going to be reviewed after a 100,000 name petition prompted a debate in Parliament.

Coun Mohammed wants to hear the views of Sheffield football fans, particularly because the city has two Championship teams. The lifelong Wednesdayite says while Parliament is having its debate, he would also like a debate in Sheffield.

He said: “Since the Hillsborough Disaster there has been a scaling back of standing areas in football grounds but a lot of fans want a return to standing.

“I grew up with Sheffield Wednesday in the 1980s and used to watch them week in and week out, home and away. I now take my son and daughter to the match but it’s not the same experience.

“A lot of my friends who are now in their 40s don’t go to the match any more because the atmosphere isn’t there. With seating you can end up sitting next to a complete stranger, rather than standing with friends and family.

“It’s very different nowadays from the old terraces, clubs can put in seats with a key which enables the seats to be lifted up or down.

“I’d like to see a debate in Sheffield about this. I’m keen to hear the views of football fans here.”

A survey by the Football League found 94 percent of 33,000 fans wanted safe standing. Germany and Celtic have trialled a safe standing section for fans for the past two seasons.

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch will address the Westminster debate on June 25.