The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) has at last published its final report on safe standing at football and we understand that there is likely to be a government announcement on the subject in August.
The SGSA's interim report (January 2020) found that rail seats had "a positive impact on spectator safety". This finding was welcomed by the Sports Minister and he reiterated his desire to work towards the introduction of safe standing as promised in the Conservative manifesto for the 2019 election.
These reports were instigated by the government's "external analysis" of evidence relating to standing at football having found that more data was required. The SGSA thus commissioned independent research company CFE to carry out a season-long study to gather the data.
The final report has been seen by many as the last piece in the jigsaw prior to the government making an announcement on the introduction of safe standing.
The report is a long read so here are a few bullet points:
- It again finds that rail seats / seats with barriers have a "positive impact on spectator safety"
- It says that "spectators overwhelmingly report that they felt safer" after their areas had been fitted out in this way.
- However, it reports that "there remains a risk of progressive crowd collapse where standing occurs in seated areas without barriers or rails"
- In computerised simulations "rail seating eliminated all progressive crowd collapse"
- It cautions that "flip-up plastic seats are inherently unstable to stand on and so present a risk of falls
- It notes that "locking seats in an upright position removed the risk of them being used to stand on"
The external analysis was launched after the Westminster Hall debate in the summer of 2018, which in turn had been triggered by the 100,000 plus signatures on a government e-petition supported by fans largely as a result of the rejection of WBA's request for consent to install rail seats.
The full report can be seen here:
CAST has been in conversation with Charlton Athletic about safe standing for nearly five years and the subject is high on our agenda for discussion with Thomas Sandgaard later this summer.
The more members CAST has the greater its influence. You can join here: