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Norwich City safe standing debate taken to parliament

PUBLISHED: 10:47 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:10 18 October 2018

Norwich City fans are on their travels this weekend to the City Ground. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City fans are on their travels this weekend to the City Ground. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Norwich City Football Club was given a seat of power after their safe standing debate was taken to parliament.

Norwich City fans will have been pleased with what they saw from their side at the Cambs Glass Stadium aside from injuries to Alex Pritchard and Timm Klose. Picture: Liam McAvoy/Focus ImagesNorwich City fans will have been pleased with what they saw from their side at the Cambs Glass Stadium aside from injuries to Alex Pritchard and Timm Klose. Picture: Liam McAvoy/Focus Images

The club, at the forefront of the debate, created a petition earlier this year raising more than 100,000 signatures, meaning it was required to be considered for a parliamentary debate.

Ed Balls, former economic secretary to the treasury, has been working hard to put forward Norwich City’s views and secured a meeting with the sports minister, Tracey Crouch, in Whitehall on October 17, 2018.

Robin Sainty, Canaries Trust chairman said: “Norwich is and will be the only football club to get an audience with parliament.

“It was a very good and positive meeting with Tracy Crouch, she was keen to hear the views of supporters and support groups.”

People at the meeting included Mr Balls, Tom Smith, Andy Batley, who is the stadium safety manager, Joe Ferrari, director of communications, and MP’s Clive Lewis and Norman Lamb.

Mr Sainty said: “Both us and [Tracey] Crouch understand that we still have many hurdles to overcome before anything is final.

“It’s a difficult issue with some people liking the idea and others being against it, no matter what we do we will need to accommodate both sides.”

Tracey Crouch was appointed secretary of state for sport and civil society in June 2017, she is a keen sports enthusiast and an FA-qualified football coach.

Norwich City's Joint Majority Shareholder Delia Smith celebrates victory at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
15/09/2018Norwich City's Joint Majority Shareholder Delia Smith celebrates victory at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 15/09/2018

Jon Punt, co-founder of the Along Come Norwich fan site, said: “Yesterday’s meeting demonstrated two things to me, that the football club are keen to continue being at the forefront of the conversation regarding safe standing, and that the government is willing to listen.

“Tracy Crouch was very well clued up about the safety challenges clubs face with persistent standing and was keen to understand how that affected Norwich City on a local level.”

Mr Punt continued: “We were given more than enough time to express our views, despite the fact there was a parliamentary vote in the middle of proceedings.

“A broad range of issues were discussed, which we’d hope will play positively into the government’s review of safe standing.

“The overwhelming feeling of the group was we had been listened to and heard.”

• What are your thoughts on safe standing? Email abigail.nicholson@archant.co.uk or take our poll, which can be found in this article.

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