Sport Minister Tracey Crouch has come under renewed pressure on the eve of the new Premier League season to allow England’s leading clubs to reintroduce standing areas at their stadia.
A report published today by think tank the Adam Smith Institute (ASI) says the use of “safe standing” sections is backed by most top-flight teams and the overwhelming majority of fans.
It also argues that it could lead to cheaper tickets, as it would allow clubs to accommodate more supporters in the same space, and would be easy to apply as it does not require new laws to be passed.
“The standing ban is an anachronism,” said the ASI’s Ben Southwood. “Clubs across Europe have rail seating sections with no incident, creating superior atmosphere and allowing for a cheaper tier of tickets.”
A ban on terracing was introduced in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, but the recent inquest found that the use of standing areas had not been a cause of the 96 deaths.
Top German teams incorporate safe standing zones, while Scottish champions Celtic have this year started trialling rail seats, which can be deployed for standing or seating.
Football supporters’ groups used a meeting with Premier League chiefs last month to urge them to drop their resistance to adopting safe standing.