EFL chief urges Government to review standing legislation

PA 28093284 celtic safe standing

The chief executive of the English Football League (EFL) has written to the Sports Minister urging her to review legislation on standing at football.

Shaun Harvey wrote to Tracey Crouch this week after she rejected the application by West Bromwich Albion to install rail seating at the Hawthorns. Harvey re-affirmed the EFL’s commitment to safe standing and its member clubs being able to offer choice to supporters.

“There is significant popular demand from supporters for standing to be permitted at all professional football matches,” Harvey told the minister.

“The Government should not underestimate how popular a change in approach would be with the football supporting element of the electorate.”

Harvey argues that clubs should be given the freedom to offer accommodation to supporters that best supports their needs – whether they be seats, dual-purpose technologies such as rail seating or dedicated standing areas.

Additionally, he argues that the all-seater requirements place an unfair burden on clubs that get promoted to the Championship from League One.

“Clubs that have played in the Championship for three seasons often have to commit significant resources to re-develop perfectly adequate standing facilities into seated accommodation that they (or their supporters) do not necessarily want,” he said.

The EFL has long supported the safe standing campaign and last season backed Shrewsbury Town’s application to have rail seating installed at New Meadow. The Shrews, in play-off contention, could be playing in the same division as West Brom next season – one club being allowed to use dual-purpose standing accommodation, and the other not.

Harvey said legislation that allowed this scenario to exist was “no longer appropriate” for the modern match-day experience and called for an immediate, wide-ranging review of the law.

Meanwhile, a petition to the Government on the issue has passed 62,000 signatures.

Thanks to PA Images for the image used in this article.