Conservatives back safe standing

Almost exactly 30 years after a Conservative government enacted the legislation that gave ministers the power to force football grounds in England and Wales to go all-seater, the Conservatives announced their first public support for safe standing. A manifesto pledge to “work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing” was made in their December 2019 general election manifesto. This came almost exactly three decades after the enactment of the Football Spectators Act paved the way for standing to be banned at over 70 grounds.

2019 election manifesto extract

With support for safe standing having been a Liberal Democrat policy since 2009 and formal Labour policy since 2018, the Conservatives’ decision to pledge their support for it in their manifesto made the December 2020 election the first ever with tri-party backing for the end of the all-seater policy.

With the Conservatives winning a comfortable majority, the day after polling day marked the first time in over 30 years that a Westminster government had supported the right of all football fans to choose for themselves whether they wished to sit or stand at the match.