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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Premier League fans want standing … but not for a whole match

Premier League clubs have been told that a clear majority of fans want the option of being able to stand during a game but only one in 20 wants to stand for the entire match.

The research, conducted by the polling firm Populus over the past 16 months, was discussed last week during the Premier League shareholders’ meeting in London.

Unlike the English Football League, Premier League clubs have not yet reached a joint position on whether they should back calls for the government to drop the all-seat rule for the top two divisions, which has been in place since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. It is understood the league is consulting clubs and experts.

The Premier League wrote to the clubs last summer asking whether any would be interested in a safe-standing trial but last week it emerged that the sports minister, Tracey Crouch, rejected a request from West Brom to install 3,600 rail seats next season.

In a statement, the Premier League said: “As part of ongoing discussions about the possible introduction of standing in top-flight football, the Premier League is conducting its own research.

“The results so far suggest a majority of fans like the idea of standing areas in principle but only 5% want to stand for an entire match. Additionally, the majority want the option of being able to stand and sit during a match.

“This subject is complex and nuanced and clearly requires more research looking at how standing areas might impact Premier League stadiums, overall fan experience at matches and safety standards.

“Taking this into account we understand and appreciate why the minister for sport would require far more evidence before considering a change to the current all-seater policy.”

Several Premier League clubs are keen to copy Celtic’s lead by installing rail seats – a flexible option with a seat that can be flipped up and locked away when it is being used as a standing area.

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