The Premier League has come out in favour of allowing its clubs a “local choice” as to whether to introduce safe standing. The decision – announced by the outgoing executive chairman, Richard Scudamore – came as the Labour party demanded the government drop an intended review of safe standing and instead back its introduction without delay.
Until this week the Premier League has stood back from the debate, insisting it wanted to compile more evidence on the appetite for safe standing. In the meantime the English Football League has taken a lead on the matter and last month called for clubs to be given a choice whether to install standing areas. This is a position the Premier League now shares.
“We are looking to make sure we’ve got all evidence and all the data to feed into government on a review they’ve pretty much committed to holding,” Scudamore said.
“I think we will look to work with that review in order to create the position where our clubs have choice – which is a local choice based on their own stadia, their own circumstances, in order to enable them to, if they wish, to be able to offer alternatives to all-seat [stadiums].”
Labour has gone one further, calling for the laws which prevent standing at grounds in the Premier League and the Championship, to be changed within weeks. The matter is due to be debated in parliament on 25 June but the shadow sports minister, Rosena Allin-Khan, said any plans for a review should be dropped.
“There have been enough consultations,” she said. “The government made a rushed announcement. I feel it’s not time for a review now. We have all the information we need. This is about English fans enjoying our national sport safely, and the government just needs to get on with it.”
According to Scudamore, Premier League research has found that 70% of supporters would wish to have the choice of standing at their club’s matches. He said his main concern now was that the introduction of safe standing would not mean enforced seating in other areas of the stadium.
“The one biggest fear we’ve got is that we do not want the introduction of a small standing area and there be a total enforcement of sitting elsewhere,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Premier League has announced plans to revise its rules around agents in an aim to create greater transparency both for clubs and players.
New proposals were given unanimous support by Premier league clubs this week, according to the outgoing executive chairman Richard Scudamore, and will now be worked on with the FA before being finalised. The Premier League also intends to share the proposals with Fifa, which is also reviewing the role of agents.
The new proposals include
A requirement for agents to pass an exam to represent players in England.
A need for agents to have a UK bank account (with players and clubs only able to pay into that bank account).
A requirement for agents that receive payments from players in England to submit annual financial reports to the FA detailing the payments they have received.
A need for an agent to be paid over the length of a player’s contract (not lump sums)
“We came up with 17 recommendations which were unanimously approved by the clubs and most are about transparency and ensuring the player is at the centre of the transaction,” Scudamore said. “We want to be sure that he knows who he is signing for, making sure he’s educated, educating his parents too. We are trying to put the player more in control.”