MP to meet Norwich City bosses to discuss safe standing at Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 15:55 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 31 January 2018
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Bosses at Norwich City Football Club, keen to bring safe standing to Carrow Road, will discuss their hopes with a city MP at this weekend’s match against Middlesbrough.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith has been invited to Saturday’s Championship fixture by the club’s chairman Ed Balls and managing director Steve Stone.
Mr Stone has previously said he wants Norwich City to be at the forefront of change to allow supporters to once again stand at football grounds in the top two tiers of English football.
Ms Smith said: “I am really looking forward to speaking to the club about this issue and to the match itself. I am open minded on the issue of safe standing and I know there’s strong views on both sides.
“I would welcome hearing from my constituents who are fans who have views one way or another.”
Following the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans died, all clubs in the top two tiers of English football had to become all-seating.
While it is not illegal to stand, people can be ejected from the ground if they refuse to sit. But Celtic, in Scotland, recently brought back standing, while it is commonplace in Germany.
The Football Supporters’ Federation says allowing clubs to bring back standing can be achieved by amending the Football Spectators Act 1989, without need for an Act of Parliament.
But, as of February last year, the government was “unconvinced by the case put forward for re-introducing standing accommodation at football grounds covered by the all-seater requirement.”
Norwich City recently decided to move more than 50 season ticket holders, mainly children, out of block A of the Barclay End because of concerns over safety.
The Safety Advisory Group, made up of representatives from the county council and emergency services, had received complaints about children standing on chairs - and there was a danger the capacity of the ground would have to be reduced.
Carrow Road bosses said moving 31 children and about 20 parents or guardians was “the lesser of two evils” and an alternative to reducing capacity by 211.
Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis has previously said he would be prepared to lobby on the issue if fans wanted it.