City exploring safe standing but won't be part of trial
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City won't be partaking in the trials for safe standing, but are exploring the possibility of installing rail seating at Carrow Road.
Clubs have been offered the chance to submit an application to the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) by October 6. If approved, stadiums will be licenced to host safe standing areas from January 1, 2022.
Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolves are among the top-flight clubs to have installed rail seating at their grounds.
Spurs and Manchester City are understood to be keen to be part of the pilot, and Liverpool said in June they were keen to trial temporary rail seating and then review it at the end of the campaign.
City are actively looking into upgrading around 7,000 seats to rail seating for a cost of around £500k. These would include the Barclay, the Snakepit and the portion of the South Stand occupied by away supporters.
In 1994 the law was changed to ban standing inside football grounds, after the Hillsborough tragedy that saw 96 Liverpool fans lose their lives after the disaster in 1989. A 97th victim was recently confirmed, with Andrew Devine, 55, unlawfully killed by the effects of the crush.
Barrier seating has been developed to enhance the safety of standing within football grounds, combining seats with the opportunity to stand safely when installed.
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The SGSA, the body in charge of ground safety, permitted the use of safe standing in 2018. The Conservative government included the regulation of safe standing in their 2019 general election manifesto. If successful, safe standing could be permitted within UK grounds in the next three seasons.
Norwich City have previously been at the forefront of a shift in the law, with the club campaigning for the introduction of safe standing as recently as 2018.
Then managing director Steve Stone led calls for the implementation of rail seating in the Barclay End, but the government stood firm despite requests from clubs including West Brom to install the developed rail seating.
Speaking in 2018, Stone said: "It's something we believe would make Carrow Road safer and offer more choice to our supporters. We will continue to support growing calls from clubs and fans for safe standing."
That position was backed by local MPs and fan groups, although the club warned that over 50 season ticket holders would be required to move to another part of the ground.
The club dispensed with traditional terracing in 1992 when the Barclay Stand was rebuilt as a two-tier structure and the standing area in the River End lower tier was filled with seats.