Safe standing areas would be difficult to police

Myth: "Safe standing areas would be difficult to police"

Supposedly it is easier to police all-seater stadia because offenders can be identified by their seat number. This entire argument is based on a number of assumptions that in reality are NOT the case:

  • All fans buy their own ticketAll fans buy their ticket using a credit card or via a membership scheme
  • All season ticket holders always sit in their allocated seat
  • Season ticket holders never pass their ticket on to other fans
  • Matchday tickets are sold to named individuals who sit in the allocated seat
  • Fans are always required by stewards to sit in the seat shown on their ticket
  • A ticket to any given stand limits fans to a very restricted area

The reality is:

  • Many tickets are bought by one person for a group of friends or family members and no record is held by the club of the names of the people who will be using the tickets
  • Many fans (especially away fans paying on the day) buy tickets with cash and are not in any membership scheme, so their names are not recorded
  • Season ticket holders sometimes move to a spare seat in order to be with friends or visiting relatives
  • Season ticket holders regularly pass on their ticket to friends or relatives when unable to attend themselves
  • Many clubs offer unreserved seating in parts of their ground (especially away sections) and at least one Premier League club offers season tickets for unreserved seating
  • Many tickets give access to an entire grandstand, meaning that where the stand is not sold out a fan with a ticket for the back row at one end may choose instead to sit in the front row at the other end

Fans in many parts of many grounds therefore sit in a seat other than that shown on their ticket and due to group purchases and cash sales there is no record of the names of many other fans in the ground.

To say that all-seater stadia enable offenders to be identified by seat number is therefore disingenuous.

By contrast, we envisage that policing of safe standing areas would be aided by the following measures:

- Each (barcoded) ticket will give access to a specific block only, not an entire stand

- Maximum block size will be regulated by the Green Guide (e.g. no more than 1,000 fans per block)

- Rails along every row will enable police or stewards to 'trap' offenders by standing at both ends of the row

- Rails along every row will make it harder for offenders to evade detention by clambering up or down the stand

- Wider clearways will make it easier for police or stewards to get to offenders than along cramped rows of seats

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