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Norwich City to continue to back safe standing despite government rejecting plans

PUBLISHED: 19:40 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:06 11 April 2018

Safe standing rail seats at Wolfsburg in Germany. Photo: David Wiltshire

Safe standing rail seats at Wolfsburg in Germany. Photo: David Wiltshire

Archant

Norwich City has vowed to continue to support calls for safe standing despite the government rejecting a bid from a Premier League club to introduce it at its stadium.

Managing director of Norwich City Steve Stone.  Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdManaging director of Norwich City Steve Stone. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

West Brom had hoped to install 3,600 rail seats at The Hawthorns but the club’s request was rejected by sports minister Tracey Crouch with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport stating “they have no current plans to change their position”.

Clubs in English football’s top two tiers have been forced by law to be all-seater ever since Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough tragedy.

But Norwich City has backed calls for the introduction of safe standing with managing director Steve Stone believing it would “make Carrow Road safer.”

“We are obviously disappointed by the decision of the government not to revisit the current legislation prohibiting clubs like us and West Brom from introducing safe standing,” he said. “It’s something we believe would make Carrow Road safer and offer more choice to our supporters. We will continue to support growing calls from clubs and fans for safe standing.”

Local MPs Norman Lamb, Clive Lewis and Chloe Smith have backed the club’s stance and have requested a meeting with the home secretary over the issue.

Mr Lamb described the decision as “a set back”.

He said: “The decision by government is essentially driven by fear over public opinion of the Hillsborough disaster. I think policy should be driven by evidence and the evidence 
points to a compelling case for change.”

A spokesperson for Mr Lewis, who is currently on paternity leave, said the “government should stop treating football supporters as a breed apart.”

“We don’t insist concert goers, boxing fans, or people out for a day at the races sit and West Brom’s safety advisory group backed safe standing,” he added.

“It’s time the government listen to people who know what they’re talking about.”

And Ms Smith added that “there is a case to be looked at” and hoped a meeting with the home secretary “could open up further discussions” but admitted it may take some time for the issue to be heard by parliament.

“Any change to current law does require the capacity in parliament to discuss it and at the moment the timetable is extremely full due to discussions to leave to EU and other domestic issues.”

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