Would you like to see safe standing at football grounds? Report claims they could halve football ticket prices

Celtic's new safe standing. Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.

Celtic's new safe standing. Jeff Holmes/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The introduction of safe standing at Premier League football clubs would cut some season ticket prices by more than half, a think tank has said.

Rail seats at Wolfsburg in Germany. Photo: David Wiltshire

Rail seats at Wolfsburg in Germany. Photo: David Wiltshire - Credit: Archant

The report by the Adam Smith Institution calls on the government to overturn the ban on standing in the Premier League and the Championship after the Hillsborough inquest concluded that fans on terraces were not responsible for the deaths of 96 supporters.

Safe standing gives each fan a designated space and a fold-down seat behind a waist-high rail. The report states that if this kind of terrace was introduced in the UK it could cut the cost of the cheapest Premier League tickets by 57pc.

After the relaxation of rules by the Scottish Premier League, Celtic became the first top-tier club in Britain to introduce safe standing, in the form of rail seating, with almost 3,000 fans now able to stand at Celtic Park.

The report highlighted a 2014 poll by Norwich City supporters group the Barclay End Projekt which found that of 853 respondents 89.21pc were in favour of seeing a safe standing area trialled at Carrow Road.

The club, under former chief executive David McNally, maintained an official position that was opposed to the idea of safe standing at Carrow Road.

In March 2014, a Norwich City spokesman said: 'Standing at Carrow Road and other Premier League and Championship stadiums around the country is currently illegal under section 11 of the Football Spectators Act 1989, and therefore the club does not have the power to unilaterally reintroduce safe standing at Carrow Road.

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'The club is always interested in the views of all Norwich City fans and welcomes their opinions on a variety of matters.

'However, the law of the land is paramount and our most important obligation is to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors to Carrow Road at all times.'

Prior to joining the Canaries, Jez Moxey, then chief executive at Wolves, said in 2012 that he was in support of a trial into safe standing at stadiums.

'An appropriate trial of safe standing would help ensure a robust and evidence-based debate could take place,' he said. 'We, therefore, support the Football Supporters Federation's call on government to give permission for a limited trial or a pilot scheme to take place.

'Of course, there would be lots of difficult issues to address before anything could happen and everyone who is interested in pursuing the idea would need to do it in a sensitive and democratic way paying attention to the current laws that are in place. They would also need to continue to be respectful to the views of the families who lost loved ones at Hillsborough and those who may have very strong contrary views.'

And in 2015, speaking as shadow chancellor and before he became Norwich City chairman, Ed Balls said he would like to see safe standing in football grounds.

'Personally, I would like to get back to safe standing,' he said. 'For many clubs things have changed so much. I'm not sure the rules are necessary. As a private citizen I'm very supportive of that.

'The people who lost their lives (at Hillsborough) aren't forgotten, but nor are the lessons we learnt from that. We've got to make sure that anything we do doesn't go back to the bad old days - I remember going to Norwich games and the away fans were locked in a cage.

'Let's not lose the good things we've achieved. We often go to Rugby League and there's safe standing there. If it can be done, I'd do it.'

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