Sunderland would like to let fans stand
Stadium managers, safety officers and stewards are often not popular with fans who would like to watch their football standing up and feel that their enjoyment is being unnecessarily spoilt by the former insisting that they sit down. When I was asked by Sunderland's leading fanzine, A Love Supreme, to write a general article on safe standing, I therefore saw this an opportunity to come to the defence of at least one member of this much-maligned group of safety professionals and in turn invited Paul Weir to expand on his own views on safe standing - both as the rules stand at present and if they were to change in future.
“It’s my job to ensure that everyone watching games at the Stadium of Light is able to do so safely," said Paul. "Currently the relevant regulations do not permit us to allow persistent standing, so I am duty bound to do all in my power to make sure that fans do not do this. I’m aware that this does not make me popular with fans who prefer to stand, but until there is a change in the regulations, it is what I have to do and I would ask all fans to assist me by sitting down when asked to so by my stewards.”
“That said, I’m open minded about possible future changes and if the regulations let us, then as a club we would like to give fans who want to stand the opportunity to do so in a safe, appropriately designated area. I was therefore happy to see the Safe Standing Roadshow recently at the stadium. The rail seats concept looks interesting and if the rules allowed it, I’d be happy to manage standing fans in such areas. We will however be guided by our governing bodies on the matter.”
So once again, it's not the football club or its security officer that is against standing, it's the regulations coming out of London.
Take a bow Paul Weir and Sunderland AFC!
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