Manchester United to introduce safe standing next season

BY GOAL.COM - Apr 29, 2020 at 11:44pm 100

Pix Inserted

Manchester United will introduce a section of safe standing next season after getting approval from Trafford Council.

The aim is to have the section, which will be 1,500 seats in J-stand in the North East quadrant, in place for the start of the next season, whenever that may be.

The club have been working with safety advisory organisations and fan groups to introduce the rail seating in a hope it will enhance fan safety in a part of the stadium where there is persistent standing.

United conducted a feasibility study and a formal proposal was put to the local Safety Advisory Group in December 2019 and has now been given approval from Trafford Council. It is understood if the trial is successful the club will look at potentially installing the rail seating in other areas of the stadium to promote safe standing.

Managing director Richard Arnold said: “It should be stated, up front, that our overwhelming priority is to keep our people safe from the Covid-19 pandemic. It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.

“This announcement is the latest step in what has been a long journey with our fans. We have listened to their feedback, in particular, the representations made by Manchester United Supporters' Trust [MUST], and worked with Trafford Council to develop and approve this proposal.

“Our belief is that the introduction of barrier seats will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing. It also allows us to future-proof the stadium in the event of any changes to the current all-seater stadium policy.

"If the trial is successful, we may consider further implementation of barrier seating in other parts of the stadium.

"We will now move on to develop the installation, compliance and licensing plan for the trial, with a view to having the new seats installed for when we can welcome our supporters back to Old Trafford.”

MUST, who have worked with the club on trying to get rail seating installed, said: “We are delighted that the slub has been given the green light to proceed with a barrier seating trial at Old Trafford. This area works for the club logistically and it was also preferable due to being an area where fans now stand and therefore barrier seats should enhance safety.”

Fan groups across all clubs have been lobbying Government officials to change the law on standing at football and to bring in rail seating to increase safety for supporters who stand for the entire game.

Wolves became the first Premier League side to trial rail seating in January 2019 and Tottenham included 7,500 seats - 5,000 in the home end and 2,500 in the away - which could be turned into a safe standing section at their new stadium, which opened in April 2019.