The call for ‘safe standing’ is getting louder – should other clubs follow Celtic’s lead?

Date: 16th March 2017 at 3:27 pm
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Soccerex are delighted to announce that the Global Convention will host a debate on the widely talked about subject of ‘Safe Standing’, with a number of experts speakers scheduled to take part.

Ferco Seating Managing Director, Michael Burnett, will be joined by Football Supporters Federation member, Jon Darch, and a representative from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority to share their views on the advancements that have been made in safe standing and its potential implementation in the English game.

Since the publishing of the Taylor report back in 1990 following the Hillsborough tragedy, there were strong recommendations that all major stadiums in the UK convert to an all-seater model.

Twenty seven years on, however, there have been calls for the feature to be brought back to English football, with many fans supporting the view that the atmosphere in grounds could be significantly improved through the re-integration of safe standing areas, in the same way Dortmund’s yellow wall has helped galvanise their fan base and intimidate their opponents.

In the UK, Celtic broke tradition early at the start of the current season by successfully employing a safe standing section at Celtic Park. The company responsible for implementing the safe standing section at Park Head, Ferco Seating, have been at the heart of a number of stadia seating projects in the past, with the company having worked on the likes of the Emirates, Twickenham Stadium and the King Power Stadium.

During the session, Managing Director Michael Burnett will go into detail on the Celtic project, which was pushed by the club for six years and had the support of both Ferco and the Football Supporters Federation throughout. Michael will provide his insight on the success of the development, the challenges faced and the benefits other clubs can gain from the service, shown from the positive reception of the section at Celtic.

Image result for Celtic fans

Jon Darch of the Football Supporters Federation, a big advocate of safe standing, has been an integral part of the campaign to implement standing sections into grounds in England, which has included parliamentary events and early day motions in order to highlight the case to the authorities, politicians and clubs, many of whom are in favour of the proposal. Jon will also speak about how many fans are in favour of the change in the UK, and will give a detailed demonstration of the benefits of standing safety at matches for both clubs and supporters alike.

Supporting the panel will also be a representative from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the UK government’s expert body on sports grounds safety. Responsible for regulating the safety at the 92 football leagues clubs, the representative will contribute by explaining the safety considerations involved.

The debate over safe standing has been going on for years now with many feeling the time is right to re-introduce to the English game. While supporters of the ban point to the impressive safety records since the Hillsborough disaster, greater regulations and other European countries’ success with the system could suggest the time is right to reconsider the situation.

This panel will form part of a thought provoking conference programme at the Soccerex Global Convention, designed to deliver unique business insight across a variety of football’s key sectors from stadia design, sponsorship, international investment, the latest in wearable technology and the rise of influencer marketing. To view our recently launched conference concept for the Global Convention, click here.

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