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Manchester United request permission for safe standing section at Old Trafford

Safe standing could be set for a return

Manchester United v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Safe standing is a trend that is again becoming more popular in stadiums across Europe and in other countries. Basically, it means standing room “seats” that are protected by railings.

Manchester United believe the seats, which allow people to stand against a barrier, will “enhance spectator safety” in areas where fans regularly stand anyway. If approved, the club will be able to add 1,500 rail seats to the North East Quadrant section of Old Trafford.

United conducted a feasibility study late in 2019 and a formal proposal was made to the local Safety Advisory Group to trial a small section of the stadium. If approved, the trial could actually take place this season.

A recent change to the stadium safety guide allows clubs to now install seats with safety barriers in their grounds.

A report by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority found that having barriers in grounds such as the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Wolves’ home Molineux “mitigated risk of crowd collapse.”

A club statement read during the recent January 31st fan forum addresses the safe standing proposal.

“Our belief is that the introduction of rail seating will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium whereas with other clubs - we have seen examples of persistent standing.

“The SAG committee is reviewing the request. This is not an automatic approval process.

“We will discuss the proposal in detail with the relevant authorities and will work through their compliance and review processes.”

All-seater stadia have been required in the English top flight since the 1990s. Celtic became the first club in the UK to complete a safe standing area in an all-seater stadium back In July 2016.