Yesterday evening saw a debate taking place in the House of Commons over the potential introduction of “Safe Standing” across English football stadiums, with every word of what was said on the subject covered in the article attached here.
The last few months have seen a tidal-wave of support for changes in the current regulations from football fans across the country, culminating in the parliamentary debate which took place yesterday. Time and again when consulted, those who regularly attend football matches have come out hugely in favour of the introduction of Safe Standing, prompting Tracey Crouch, the Secretary of State for Sport to backtrack on her previously dismissive stance on the suggestions during yesterday’s debate.
Hearteningly, the vast majority of the contributions were in favour of changes being made, with the likes of John Mann MP, (for Bassetlaw) Hilary Benn MP, (for Leeds Central) Emma Hardy MP, (for Hull West & Hessle) Clive Efford MP, (for Eltham) Ian Mearns MP, (for Gateshead) and Jonathan Reynolds MP (for Staylybridge & Hyde) along with numerous others, speaking passionately about their hope of seeing the government set the wheels in motion to allow for changes to the current all-seater policy across the top two tiers of English football.
It’s something that both clubs and their supporters have been united over for a fair while now, prompting a groundswell of support that has simply become too big for the government to ignore over the last few months. Of course, the dark shadow of the Hillsborough Disaster still looms large over us all but to compare Safe Standing with the policing errors which led to the deaths of 96 football fans is to bury your head in the sand and ignore the irrefutable evidence being placed in front of your eyes.
Overcrowding was always likely to lead to a tragedy within the game, that is something we can all agree on. Allowing people to stand it a regulated, ticketed environment without annoying those situated around them just makes sense for the game going forward; hopefully those with the power to enforce a change have taken the overwhelming support for it as a green light to do something over the next few months.