Layla Moran has welcomed reports today that Government officials are in discussions with the English Football League about reviewing rules which ban safe standing areas in football stadiums in the top tiers of English football.
Questions raised in the House of Commons in recent weeks by Ms Moran had revealed that the Government Minister for Sport, Tracey Crouch MP, wanted to keep the current rules requiring all-seater stadiums in the Premier League and Championship.
However, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is now reviewing the ban on safe standing in the sport.
It comes after the Oxford West and Abingdon MP lodged a Parliamentary motion yesterday welcoming proposals to introduce a safe standing area Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium and urging the Government to allow safe standing in all football stadiums.
Concerns had been raised that if League One clubs like Oxford United introduced safe standing and were then promoted to the Championship they wouldn’t be able to use their standing area under the current rules.
Layla Moran said:
“Football fans have long called for the ban on safe standing in the Championship and Premier League to be axed and I am glad that the Government are finally starting to listen.
“Of course safety has to come first, but modern European-style rail seating areas are a far cry from the terraces of the 1980s and would improve the atmosphere as well as offering fans more choice and cheaper tickets.
“Lifting the ban on safe standing would also remove the problem of League One clubs wanting to introduce safe standing areas but being put off by the prospect of not being able to use them if they win promotion to the Championship.
“I’ll be keeping up the pressure in Parliament so that the Government doesn’t get in the away of clubs wishing to listen to fans and introduce safe standing.”
Layla Moran’s Parliamentary Motion reads as follows:
Safe Standing in Football Stadiums
That this House welcomes the decision of Oxford United Football Club to consider introducing safe standing areas at the Kassam Stadium; notes that the proposals have received support from the majority of the Oxford United Safety Advisory Group; believes that safe standing areas can offer supporters more choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper match tickets; recognises that safe standing operates well in many sports and stadia; is concerned that there appears to be no mechanism for a club that has introduced a safe standing area to retain that area if it is promoted to the top two tiers of English football; notes that more than 110,000 people have signed e-petition 207040 relating to Premier League and Championship football clubs being allowed to introduce safe standing; and therefore calls on the Government to allow football clubs in all divisions to be able to introduce safe standing areas in their grounds.