MIDDLESBROUGH SUPPORTERS FORUM RESEARCH SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR SAFE STANDING AT FOOTBALL MATCHES
Middlesbrough Supporters Forum has undertaken one of the largest pieces of research* on the subject of safe standing at football, which found that 99% of people supported fans being given the choice whether to sit or stand at a match.
The survey showed overwhelming support for a safe standing option whether the individual themselves preferred to stand or sit.
The online survey, which attracted 3,398 respondents and was facilitated in partnership with the Football Supporters Federation, found that:
65% of people would themselves prefer to stand at a game
Even 61% of fans preferring to sit think fans should be given the choice of whether to sit or stand.
96% of fans that preferred to stand cite better atmosphere as their main reason with only just under 16% mentioning cheaper ticket prices as a reason
60% of people questioned had been forced to stand or been unable to see because of people standing around them (in all seater stadia)
61% had been asked by police or a steward to sit down when standing in an all-seater stadium
Earlier this year, the Government-appointed body which regulates ground safety, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), granted a request by the English Football League (EFL) for rail seating to be permitted in 21 stadia not subject to all-seater requirements. Rail seating is used successfully around the world to allow sports fans to safely stand, including at Celtic’s Parkhead, Orlando City’s new stadium and a number of Bundesliga grounds in Germany.
Rail seats incorporate a safety barrier and a flip-down seat on every other row (or step). These seats can be locked in an upright position for domestic games, allowing two rows of supporters to stand in between barriers. Supporters can be given a designated ‘seat’ but watch the game while standing. With only two rows of fan per barrier there is no danger of a crush or progressive crowd collapse.
Dave Roberts, chairman of the Middlesbrough Supporters Forum, said: “It is important to say that we do not in any way advocate a return to the old-style of terracing.
“Our significant research proves that among football fans of all ages there is a real appetite for a choice within football grounds to allow those who prefer to stand to do so safely and in a way that does not disrupt those who either can’t or don’t want to stand.
“Safe standing, whether rail seating or one of the other options available, is completely different and this is what we are calling on the Premier League, EFL and Government to come together with fans’ organisations and discuss.”
Peter Daykin co-ordinator of the safe standing campaign at the Football Supporters' Federation said: “We’re really pleased that so many Middlesbrough supporters have taken the time to contribute to this safe standing survey and say what they think about the prospect of seeing safe standing at the Riverside.
“They’ve proven once again that safe standing is remarkably popular among all types of supporters and that fans overwhelmingly back the choice between seating and modern standing accommodation.”
*3,398 people responded to the online survey held for four weeks between June and July 2017 – it was publicised on Middlesbrough FC related media and social media