MP says he would help lobby to get safe standing at Norwich City Football Club
PUBLISHED: 16:42 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:42 20 December 2017
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A city MP has said he is ready to help Norwich City Football Club lobby to get the government to allow safe standing at football matches - if that is what supporters want to see happen.
The club’s decision to move more than 50 season ticket holders, mainly children, out of block A of the Barclay End because of concerns over safety has had a mixed reaction.
The Safety Advisory Group, made up of representatives from the county council and emergency services, had received complaints about children standing on chairs.
Carrow Road bosses said moving 31 children and about 20 parents or guardians was “the lesser of two evils” and an alternative to having to reduce the capacity at the ground by 211.
Some of those being moved feel it is unfair and the club has acknowledged the “injustice”, especially as some of those being moved will not have been those standing on seats and standing is commonplace in other parts of the Barclay End.
But the situation has revived the debate over whether there should be a return to standing areas at football grounds such as Carrow Road.
Steve Stone, the club’s managing director, said he wanted Norwich City to be at the forefront of change and that he hoped MPs might join the lobbying to get legislation changed.
Following the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans died, all clubs in the top two tiers of English football had to become all-seating.
While it is not illegal to stand, people can be ejected from the ground if they refuse to sit. But Celtic, in Scotland, recently brought back 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 need for an Act of Parliament.
But, as of February, the government was “unconvinced by the case put forward for re-introducing standing accommodation at football grounds covered by the all-seater requirement.”
However. Clive Lewis, Norwich South Labour MP, said he would be keen to do what he could to convince them. He said: “If fans are saying it, as well as the club, I would be more than happy to look at it in terms of lobbying the government.”