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Standing at Premier League matches to be allowed for first time in 30 years

On January 2, the match between Chelsea and Liverpool will be the first to enable spectators to stand during the game. Until 97 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at the Hillsborough Stadium in 1989, standing on the main terraces of matches in Britain was a prominent aspect of the games.

SNS | New Delhi |

Standing at Premier League matches in England will be permitted for the first time in over 30 years, following the country’s worst-ever disaster.

On January 2, the match between Chelsea and Liverpool will be the first to enable spectators to stand during the game. Until 97 Liverpool fans were crushed to death at the Hillsborough Stadium in 1989, standing on the main terraces of matches in Britain was a prominent aspect of the games.

Since then, all-seater stadiums have been mandated for top-flight clubs.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea and Championship side Cardiff have, like Chelsea, also had their applications to be part of a safe standing trial approved.

In a statement on Monday night, Chelsea FC said its application to be an early adopter of licensed safe standing from January 1, 2022, has been approved by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) and the Government Sports Minister, Xinhua reports. “This is a historic change of policy to allow standing in top-flight football grounds in England and Wales for the first time in nearly 30 years,” read a statement released by the club.

“The introduction of licensed standing areas is based on evidence of a safety risk for fans who persistently stand in seated areas. In addition, many fans want the choice to stand and, with the advent of new engineering solutions, research has shown this can be managed safely.”

Chelsea FC has already installed rail seating to areas at Stamford Bridge to facilitate safe standing.

“We are very pleased that we have been approved to operate licensed safe standing areas and that our club will be an early adopter of this historic change in policy,” said Chelsea CEO Guy Laurence. “The research and evidence show that standing can be managed safely, and we look forward to our supporters enjoying this enhanced experience at the earliest opportunity in the new year.”

Fans deserve different options for how they may enjoy a live match, according to Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, who added, “I shall be observing the progress of these experiments with interest.”

From January onwards, early adopters of standing will be evaluated through independent research. The findings, which are expected in the second half of the 2022/23 season, will inform subsequent SGSA recommendations to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the possibility for a wider deployment of licenced standing beginning in 2022/23 season.