Swansea City and Wolves back Safe Standing Campaign!

Swansea City and Wolverhampton Wanderers are the latest clubs to back the Football Supporters’ Federation’s Safe Standing Campaign after both clubs called for a trial of standing areas. Their support comes hot on the heels of 15 other clubs including Aston Villa and Peterborough United who have offered to trial safe standing areas in their grounds. The SPL also supports the campaign.

Huw Jenkins, Chairman at Swansea City, said: “We would be happy to work with the relevant bodies to look at whether this is something that could be implemented by Swansea City. It would require consultation through our fans (through the Supporters' Trust) but we are happy to support the overall approach and are happy to work to see if this is something that could be trialled at our stadium.”

Swansea City’s support comes after last week’s Parliamentary showcase The Case for Safe Standing in Football. The event was attended by MPs, journalists and football industry figures including representatives from Swansea City – read a report and listen to the event in full here.

The event received a great deal of media coverage and prompted real engagement from senior police officers on the subject of standing at football. The FSF will follow this up and contact the Association of Chief Police Officers and all other stakeholders to outline the case for a trial of safe standing areas.

Wolves’ support followed a visit by the Safe Standing Roadshow and FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke in May 2011. Jez Moxey, Chief Executive, Wolves, said: “At Wolves we fundamentally believe in engaging with our supporters in an open and constructive manner – our Fans' Parliament is an excellent example of how this works to good effect. We are also keen to participate in industry related discussions and the safe standing debate is a topical subject that many fans are interested in.

“An appropriate trial of safe standing would help ensure a robust and evidence-based debate could take place. We, therefore, support the Football Supporters' Federations’s call on Government to give permission for a limited trial or a pilot scheme to take place.

“Of course, there would be lots of difficult issues to address before anything could happen and everyone who is interested in pursuing the idea would need to do it in a sensitive and democratic way paying attention to the current laws that are in place. They would also need to continue to be respectful to the views of the families who lost loved ones at Hillsborough and those who may have very strong contrary views.

“Finally, we also take this opportunity to stress the importance of fans abiding by the current legislation that’s in place and we repeat the call for fans not to persistently stand whilst this debate continues.”

  • Below left - Rail seats in Klagenfurt (Austria).
  • Below right - Bob Symns (chief executive, Peterborough United - middle row, centre) and representatives of Peterborough City Council with Jon Darch (Safe Standing Roadshow) and Hannover 96 staff among rail seats in the AWD Arena (Germany).

Every week thousands stand in seated areas supporting the team they love. This causes headaches for clubs and safety officials who have to ‘manage’ this problem and the FSF believes safe standing offers a real alternative. Survey-after-survey (see Section 2 - "Who wants safe standing?) has shown that the majority of fans back this position and nine out of 10 fans who completed the FSF’s 2012 Annual Survey backed the choice to sit or stand.

Ugo Vallario of FSF Affiliate Swansea City Travel Club welcomed the Swans’ decision: “I’m all for safe standing because if someone wants to be able to stand at football they should be able to. I’m fully behind it and safety is the bottom line. My wife prefers to sit at football but she backs the choice too, she thinks it’s great for the atmosphere.”

Early Day Motion (EDM) 573, submitted by Roger Godsiff MP acknowledges the “widespread support” for safe standing technology and recognises the success of safe standing areas throughout Europe, including in Germany’s Bundesliga. The FSF would encourage all football supporters to get in touch with their local MPs and explain the need to trial safe standing areas - the more MPs who sign EDM 573 the better.

Still not convinced? Read more about safe standing and the FSF’s reasons for supporting it here.