Safe standing: 'Fans demonised by law' campaigners say

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Celtic's safe standing: how does it work?
All-seater stadium laws "demonise" football fans and "make no sense", safe-standing campaigners have claimed.West Brom wanted to introduce a safe-standing area at The Hawthorns next season but the government rejected its proposal on Monday.That decision has angered campaigners who argue the law is outdated.
"The legislation surrounding standing has always been terrible. It's now ludicrous," said the Football Supporters' Federation's Peter Daykin.But the government says all-seater stadiums "remain the best means of ensuring the safety and security of fans".
Is the law fit for purpose?
West Bromwich Albion's safety advisory group - consisting of various members, including emergency services and the local authority - supported the club's proposal to apply to the government to be considered for a safe-standing pilot.The club has said it found the decision not to accept the experts' support "surprising".they were in favour of rail seating, a type of safe standing.Last year, League One Shrewsbury Town were given permission to install rail seating following a campaign by fans who raised the money to pay for it through crowdfunding.The EFL - which counts the 24 second-tier Championship clubs among its 72 members - wants all its clubs to be able to install safe-standing areas "should they wish" and has lobbied government.The Liberal Democrats have pledged to introduce safe standing[/i] if elected to government, saying 90% of football fans want that choice.And last month, cross party MPs wrote to Home Secretary Amber Rudd urging a review of the law on safe standing.
Would the law need to change?
Jon Darch, from campaign group Safe Standing Roadshow[/i]The law does not have to change for safe standing to be introduced at grounds in the Premier League and Championship. The way in which the secretary of state exercises the power given to him/her by the act has to change. They can decide on their own merits if they want to allow it and what restrictions they want to impose. Since 1994, the secretary of state has chosen to exercise their power by forcing stadiums of clubs in the top two divisions to go all-seater.This is not the end of the matter for West Brom, the government has scored an own goal with their decision. West Brom's application was based solely on safety. It is an illogical decision. Had the pilot for the rail seats not worked, West Brom would have been happy to take them out and revert back to being all-seater.Take the case of Brentford, currently in the Championship, who have terraces at their home of Griffin Park. They are currently playing their fourth year in the division this season, but last summer [then culture secretary] Karen Bradley accepted that it would be an unreasonable expense to ask to them to go all-seater because they are in the process of building a new ground. However, delays in building their new stadium at Lionel Road could mean spending an extra two or three years with terraces in the Championship.It is completely bonkers, the mess is down to the government and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We could have a situation where Shrewsbury, who could get promoted from League One to the Championship, and West Brom are in the same league - but one has been given permission for rail seating and the other has not.
Analysis - football must unite to force change
Richard Conway, BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondentWest Bromwich Albion aren't alone in wanting to introduce safe standing, but they and the other clubs who want to install rail seating must first convince the government of their argument.Significantly, West Brom had the full backing of their safety advisory group - which contains representatives from police, fire, ambulance services and the local authority.The English game perhaps needs to combine with one voice - Football Association, EFL, Premier League and fans' groups - and present a united position to the government before anything changes.The next few months may show if a sense of common endeavour exists.
It will happen - West Brom

Celtic introduced safe standing seating in 2016Mark Miles, WBA director of operations, on BBC Radio 5 liveAnybody that goes to football can see there are large numbers of people who go to football who are standing already, and football clubs have to manage those people standing.We've tried so many ways to do that - information, ticketing, stewards clearing gangways. The one thing we haven't tried is the installation of the rail seating to create the safe-standing areas, which we believe would make it safer for supporters who are choosing to stand.Trying to get several thousand people to sit down - it's impossible to do. The best way I believe we can do that is by installing the rail seating.I think the safe standing, the rail seating, will eventually come into football. Unfortunately it won't be here for next season and I'm not sure it will be here in the short to medium term.But I do believe it will come in and we remain open to discussions with the government.
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