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SPL approve pilot scheme for Safe Standing areas

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SPL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster, said: “Since I joined the SPL in 2009, there has been widespread support amongst fans to re-introduce safe standing areas. I am delighted that we have been able to respond positively to supporters’ views on improving the match day experience.”

Terracing was banned following the Hillsborough disaster in 198,9 which saw 96 Liverpool fans crushed to death during an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. Pittodrie was the first stadium in Britain to become all-seater (1978) pre-dating the Taylor report.

While all-seater stadiums were compulsory in England since 1994, standing areas in top-flight football in Scotland is not banned as it is not under the same law which came into force following the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster.

Doncaster added: “In Scotland, I think there was a view that Scottish football was already well underway with making improvements at that time.

“The perception from some that we’re going to see the re-introduction of open terraces as was the case before is wide of the mark. What we’ll be looking at and what we’ll be welcoming are pilot schemes put forward that look at the rail seating systems that we see, for example, in Germany.

When campaigners talked of a return to terracing or at least safe standing sections, the one example they would use as a working model which is safe was German football.

Doncaster continued: “Having spent some time recently in Germany, looking at the systems at Borussia Dortmund, it’s a fantastic system and it certainly does a great deal for the atmosphere within the ground and if it is introduced here, if we are able to get pilots away, hopefully we’ll see the same here.

“The systems are fairly straight forward to police. There are some stadia where it simply wouldn’t work but there are some stadia where it could work. Friday night football, safe standing areas; all of these are issues that are responding to supporter demand, looking at ways in-which we can improve the product and tempt people back through the turnstyles.”

“Whenever we talk to supporters about what they’d like to see, safe standing comes up as one of the things they’d like to see. Whilst there’s a number of hurdles that clubs would need to overcome to re-introduce standing at their grounds, our rules are one of those hurdles.

“So, that’s now out the way and that paves for clubs to come forward with pilot schemes if they have the support of their local police force and local safety committee to come forward and put forward pilot schemes that the SPL board can look at.”

To see how safe standing would work in Scotland check out the STV website.

Do you want your club to have a safe standing section? Please comment below.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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