Premier League sides Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur are the four top division clubs who have been permitted to hold safe standing trials inside their respective stadiums.
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has announced that the application of these four PL sides have been approved along with Cardiff City and these five clubs could help roll back legislation that has been in effect for more than 25 years.
When will the trials begin?
The Sports Ground Safety Authority(SGSA) have announced that the trial will begin on January 1 of next year and will conclude at the end of the current season.
The trial will be monitored by the independent firm CFE Research and they will provide their observations to the Government so that they can make a decision whether to bring back safe standings from the next campaign.
Huddleston said: “I’m pleased to approve these five clubs as early adopters of licensed safe standing areas for the second half of the season.
“The time is now right to properly trial safe standing in the Premier League and EFL Championship ahead of a decision on a widespread roll-out.
“Safety is absolutely paramount and the SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) is working hand-in-glove with the clubs on this.
“Fans deserve different options on how they can enjoy a live match and I will be watching the progress of these trials with interest.”
First clubs to offer licensed standing named: @CardiffCityFC, @ChelseaFC, @ManCity, @ManUtd, @SpursOfficial to have licensed ‘safe standing’ areas from 1 January. https://t.co/jA3UNVTKdB#safestanding pic.twitter.com/h51H36mpl8
— Sports Grounds Safety Authority (@SGSA_UK) November 8, 2021
Why were safe standing areas banned in the Premier League and the Championship?
The blanket ban on safe standing areas has been in effect for more than 25 years n the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster when 97 Liverpool fans tragically lost their lives.
🚨⚽️ | NEW: Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd and Spurs will be the first clubs to pilot safe standing in the Premier League
— Football For All (@FootballlForAll) November 8, 2021
After that incident, the Government had banned such areas from all the stadiums in the top two divisions in English football.
But in recent times many people have campaigned to bring safe standing areas back and if the trails at Chelsea, Man United, Spurs and Man City are successful then we should see fans enjoying the match while standing from the 22/23 season onwards.
Liverpool though did not apply to be a part of these trials because they are already conducting their own trial with two areas of rail seating at Anfield.
This is designed to allow safe standing protocols only in particular moments of the match rather than the whole 90 minutes.