November 2016. West Bromwich Albion have become the latest Premier League to announce a public interest in rail seating, with operations director Mark Miles giving a long interview on the subject to local media and via the club’s own channels to explain the potential implications to fans.
Talking about the assessment of safety
risks in existing all-seater stadia such as The Hawthorns, Miles says: “While standing in
seated areas isn’t inherently unsafe, it’s far from ideal and as a club, we
have to recognise that there are potential risks. One is the possibility of a
potential crowd collapse where there is a surge or something similar at the
back and everybody dominoes forwards from the top of the stand. Clearly that is
a worst case scenario, but we must accept it exists.”
Looking ahead to potential provided by rail seats, he notes: “if it could be demonstrated that in fact, it can actually create a safer environment and address the issue that, whether we like it or not, supporters want to stand, then I think government would take notice.”
His full interview, which is well worth a read, is available here on the WBA website.
As a senior figure also in the Football Safety Officers Association, it is great to see Mark talking here so knowledgeably about rail seats and looking with an open mind at the benefits that they may bring for him in terms of the safety of spectators in his ground.
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