November 2016. In the same month that Premier League clubs discussed safe standing for the first time ever, the FA gave its backing to the concept, with new chairman Greg Clarke throwing his weight behind the campaign.
“I love standing, the fans love it and it really contributes to the atmosphere. I have fond memories of standing up when I was a lad and I always stand up at grassroots matches, such as when I watched Devon County FA play the Royal Navy last week. I think if football works together on this, then we could get a result and the fans would love it”, Clarke told The Times.
"A fan of safe standing"
Shortly after taking up his new position, Clarke had previously told The Telegraph: “Certainly, I’ve been a fan of safe standing. In the end, if people want to stand and you can make it safe for them to stand, why wouldn’t you let them? We need to find a way over time to convince the Government there won’t be public order issues, it will be safe, it will be controllable… what we want is nice safe family-orientated grounds which also have safe standing.”
With the Premier League now formally discussing the subject, the EFL mandated by 77% of its member clubs to “approach the minister for sport to request that the 'all-seater' stadia requirement for Championship clubs be reviewed with a view to the re-introduction of standing accommodation” and the FA chairman now saying “I think if football works together on this, then we could get a result”, a three-party approach to government looks closer than ever before.
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