Bristol City install safe standing rail seats at Ashton Gate

Installation 2

(Above - first rail seats installed at Bristol City, more pics here & a time-lapse vid here.)

Bristol City have become the first UK club to install safe standing rail seats at their stadium. Initially the area would only be used during Bristol Rugby matches as current regulations prohibit their use for football matches.

Following consultation with its clubs, the Football League last week agreed to lobby the Government for a change in the rules to permit safe standing areas for football matches.

The Robins have installed the demonstration block at Ashton Gate as an example of its benefits in a bid to give others an idea of what could be expected if legislation was changed.

The block of rail seats will be unveiled in front of dignitaries from the FA and Football League today, as well as members of the national and local media.

Bristol City FC Chief Executive Doug Harman said: "If we are given the relevant permissions, this could be a great opportunity for Bristol City to become a showcase for other teams up and down the country.

"At last week’s Football League meeting there was clear, strong support from clubs for the League to approach the authorities for a relaxation and change in the regulations.

"We’ve received feedback from our supporters who are keen for the option of safe standing and with the proposed redevelopment of Ashton Gate and Bristol Rugby’s move to the stadium this summer, this seems to be the right time to explore this further."

Redevelopment of Ashton Gate Stadium – which from 2014/15 will play host to Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby – should begin this summer. The all-seated Wedlock Stand will be replaced with a brand new stand, which could contain 2,202 rail seats to the rear of the stand behind the goal if regulations permit it.

Further redevelopment of the stadium in the Dolman Stand, to the side of the pitch, could see a further 1,568 rail seats incorporated in the stadium, which has been home to Bristol City FC for more than 100 years.

FSF Safe Standing Co-ordinator Peter Daykin said: "Bristol City deserve enormous credit for becoming the first UK football ground to install rail seats. There's nothing like being able to show people the sort of new technology that's available for standing areas in the 21st century and their investment in this block is all the more remarkable when you consider it can't currently be used for football matches.

"By investing in advocacy of this new technology, the club are acceding to the wishes of their supporters and the overwhelming majority of football fans. Doubtless they appreciate the benefits of standing at football - better atmospheres, lower ticket prices and an end to the problems caused by standing in seated areas.

"We hope today's event shows everybody that new standing technologies can make football stadia in this country even safer and, when you see that in action, it's a powerful image."