74% of Sportsfan Panel* voted in favour of re-introducing safe standing areas
A recent Sportsfan Panel survey which asked for opinions on the prospect of safe standing areas being reintroduced into football stadiums across the UK, a current issue that is being widely debated in the media and throughout clubs across the country. The survey targeted those who regularly attend live matches at Premier League and Championship level, as currently the legislation only requires the top two tiers of English football to have all-seater stadiums.
74% of respondents voted in favour of safe standing areas being reintroduced to football stadiums, with 80% of these stating that it will improve the atmosphere at live matches. 57% also felt it would make the matches cheaper to attend, with 38% indicating it would create a more communal and friendly feel between fans.
Other key comments made in favour of safe standing included;
- Many fans already choose to stand, particularly at away fixtures, and so as it happens anyway it would be advisable to make it legal and safe,
- There is a large demand to bring back a very traditional element of watching live football,
- It would allow more fans to attend games, which for stadiums that consistently sell out, would provide access for more fans and enable clubs to increase attendances.
The Bundesliga was highlighted by many as a league that operates safe standing effectively, and across other sports, Rugby Union, Rugby League and Silverstone were acknowledged by our panel. Many also felt that football stadiums which allowed standing prior to the Hillsborough tragedy offered safe standing.
However, for those (26%) not in favour of welcoming back safe standing, 80% had concerns with safety aspects, 63% felt that there would be a negative impact on those bringing children or attending as a family. Other comments made by panellists included Liverpool fans feeling they could not justify the decision to return to standing, following the tragic events at Hillsborough. Another main concern for those not in favour was due to a potential reduction in visibility of the pitch and players.
*Sportsfan Panel is a unique research panel of approximately 30,000 sports fans and participants who are available to give their views on a wide range of sport related issues. It is comprised of consumers, spectators and participants from a wide and wonderful variety of sports.