Should Standing Areas Be Brought Back To The Stands
It is a question that has slowly started to gather speed in footballers trusts and the wider supporter communities around the country,Should their club be allowed to have areas where fans could be packed in standing side by side without having your view blocked by the “sit and stand” situation which is going on at every club even though it is only supposed to be sitting that doesn’t mean that fans will take notice if they feel standing will provide they’re moneys worth.There have been plenty of ideas or theories of benefits to the fan and the clubs if standing is brought back such as a better unblocked view, greater atmosphere’s at the stadia,increased revenue for the clubs, higher attendances,ticket price drops allowing the game to be more affordable in a struggling modern financial climate.But are all of these elements enough to win back support for an outlawed form of event viewing.
The Revenue factor is a huge benefit, especially in these times of hardship for football clubs.We have already seen Portsmouth and Rangers FC sink into financial ruin in 2012 so would a little extra revenue help?.If there are standing areas the price of those tickets will be lower than seating tickets but because they can fit more people into non seating areas which will make it a profitable solution although i am really not sure just how much of a profit they would make from one area,for example if you have your standard 4 stand stadium and three and three-quarters of the stadium are seating then i don’t see a point in opening a quarter to standing fans as the increased profit wouldn’t be of a substantial amount to warrant the risk involved because there are risks involved.What if they rip out the seats for that quarter of the stadia expecting to sell more tickets for that quadrant than they averaged when it was seating and what actually happens is that it sells its usual amount ? or what happens if supporters don’t react in the manner expected and that the culture of watching events and how we do that has changed since before the days of the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster and the emergence of the Green Guide as maybe the fans would prefer to sit in a safer seated environment and are happy to pay the extra cash rather than standing in what has always been renowned for being an Intimidating experience.
“They predicted that all-seater stadiums would lead to increased ticket prices, and since then ticket prices in the Premier League have risen up to 1,000 per cent.”
“The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) believes that football supporters should have the choice to watch football from a safe standing area, if they so wish, at matches in England and Wales.”http://www.fsf.org.uk/news/safestanding.php
There is an undoubted argument that it will bring back the passionate deafening atmosphere inside of British stadiums.It doesn’t take too much scientific research to figure out that if a club manages to increase their attendance then there will be more voices to chant.I think what this argument is about are the cultural elements of having an area where fans can stand as you have to remember they were the hallmark and home of the notorious football hooligans of the 80’s and there will always be a certain bravado and stigma attached to standing areas about how intimidating they are and can be.There is absolutely no argument either about how dramatically football hooliganism crime has decreased since the 80s and after the Lord Taylor report giving fans safety and a ticket for a specific seat rather than an area.
A strange opinion I have heard on this subject was from listening to the Radio one morning and listening to the TalkSport station in which I heard a fan explain that fans and supporters have the “right” to stand at a football match.This opinion i do not agree with as no person has the right to just do what they want and break rules to benefit themselves and there is no given “right” to stand at stadia, after the law had spoken and the green guide was published it was an irrelevant thought to think you should have a right to stand because the law states you can’t so the fans do not have that right.
“Unlike the Heysel Stadium disaster four years previous the Hillsborough tragedy did not occur due to hooliganism as there was no violence whatsoever between the two sets of supporters. This incident occurred solely due to congestion.Thousands of the fans who traveled to the game were late due to the traffic and delays to the railways causing many fans to hurriedly enter the stadium at the same time to avoid missing more of the match.No entrances were sealed off causing many fans to enter into the same area and no larger gates were opened to redirect fans to safer areas.” http://www.inbrief.co.uk/football-law/football-stadiums-and-the-law.htm
I don’t believe we should have Standing Areas back at our clubs in the Premiership or Championship at all although there are points made which I do agree with but I only agree with them in the principle that they are correct observations on what would improve if it was to be brought into place.The instances and events such as Heysel and Hillsborough should always be echoed in the laws on safety in football grounds in the future, I have heard the points that Hillsborough was caused by police incompetency and railings caging the fans and i absolutely agree with that but, it also wouldn’t have happened if the stadium was seated and tickets for specific seats were sold as there wouldn’t have been an x amount of extra fans there and if you didn’t have a seat you wouldn’t have been let in, there wouldn’t have been gateways to open to funnel fans into areas , there would have been seating ticket turnstiles.The profit gained from only a small section of the stadium being standing is nowhere near large enough to make it a feasible proposition, especially when we are talking about issues where people have lost lives in tragic circumstances.In foreign football, if we look at the Italian and Portuguese leagues the hooliganism factor is still a huge problem with irriducibili factions control their clubs to such an extent they are invited to club meetings to negotiate issues , the hooliganism impact has never changed in Italy the game is still dominated by these factions from standing areas of stadiums , the leader stands at the front with a megaphone directing his orders, lighting flares and fires and orchestrating rushes to the stands and there is no way i would ever want football in Britain be sunk to such a level of utter violent delinquency.In light of all of the points and arguments for , my opinion is that Football has moved on and stadiums should stay seating.If we sign petitions then we as a footballing culture will be moving backwards instead of forwards.The Green Guide is something which I have studied as part of my degree and I agree and trust in the safety law which is there to keep everybody safe because that is the main subject area we need to remember on focus on, If there is even the slightest risk of death or injuries then why rock the boat ? why take the chance when the sport has moved on.