MP ready to raise issue of safe standing at Norwich City’s Carrow Road in Parliament
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Norwich City Football Club’s ambition to be at the vanguard of bringing safe standing to Carrow Road is to be raised in Parliament, after one of the city’s MPs pledged to highlight the issue.
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith attended Saturday’s Championship game with Middlesbrough on the invitation of club chairman Ed Balls and managing director Steve Stone.
Mr Stone has previously said he wants Norwich City to be at the forefront of change so supporters can once again stand at football grounds in the top two tiers of English football, so they invited the MP to discuss the issue.
Ms Smith said: “It was very helpful to hear the opinions and views of the club and to see for myself, through the control room, some of the challenges at the ground.
“I would still very much like to hear from fans who have an opinion, because at the end of the day, this is for the fans.
“But I am prepared to work with other Norfolk MPs to raise this issue in Parliament.”
After the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans died, clubs in the top two tiers of English football had to make stadiums all-seater.
While it is not illegal to stand, people can be ejected from the ground if they refuse to sit. But Scottish club Celtic recently brought in safe standing, while it is commonplace in Germany.
The Football Supporters’ Federation says allowing clubs to bring back standing can be achieved by amending the Football Spectators Act 1989, without the need for an Act of Parliament.
But, as of February last year, the government was “unconvinced by the case put forward for re-introducing standing accommodation at football grounds covered by the all-seater requirement.”
Norwich City recently decided to move more than 50 season ticket holders, mainly children, out of block A of the Barclay End because of safety concerns.
The Safety Advisory Group, made up of representatives from the county council and emergency services, had received complaints about children standing on seats.
Carrow Road bosses said moving 31 children and about 20 parents or guardians was “the lesser of two evils”- compared to the alternative of being forced to reduce capacity at the stadium by 211.