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Reader letter: Norwich City board receiving unfair criticism over lower Barclay standing saga

PUBLISHED: 15:46 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:46 29 December 2017

The lower Barclay goes wild (Picture: Archant)

The lower Barclay goes wild (Picture: Archant)

I believe the Norwich City board are receiving unfair criticism over the issue of standing in the lower Barclay.

The board’s hand is being forced by the licensing authority, which has the final say on all safety matters at the stadium.

The current problem has arisen because of bad legislation introduced for the wrong reason. More of that later.

While the safety authorities concentrate on those who stand in the lower Barclay, if they were to look at the next section of the stadium - where the away support is - they would see a much greater problem. I have never known the away supporters to sit, and I have been sitting in the South Stand since it opened after rebuilding.

So why is no action taken against the away support? Quite simply, because there is no way to stop them standing — one of the things that makes this bad legislation. If you cannot enforce legislation, it is bad legislation.

Another reason I believe it was bad legislation is that it actually makes our stadia less safe. Spectators standing in seated areas have the top of the seat in front at appoint just below their knees. A surge in the crowd in that situation (with no barriers) could be catastrophic.

So, bad legislation for the wrong reasons? Apart from the reasons already given for it being bad legislation there is also the simple fact is that our stadia could have been made safer without making them all-seater.

That brings us to the “the wrong reason”. The legislation was introduced in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster and while the claim was that it was to make football grounds safer, the real reason was as a measure against hooliganism.

By having all spectators in an allocated position (a seat) trouble makers could be more easily identified. The same effect could be achieved by introducing the proposed “safe standing”.

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