"Positive impact on spectator safety"

A report for government produced by the country’s official stadium safety body has found that rail seating has “a positive impact on spectator safety”. In summer 2019, the Sports Ground Safety Authority commissioned a season-long piece of research into standing practices at grounds with a variety of spectator accommodation. This was due to compare and contrast standing at grounds with terraces, with rail seating and with no formal standing areas, i.e. just normal seating. The data collected was to help inform the government decision on whether or not to amend/scrap the all-seater policy.

The interim report, submitted in January 2020, concluded that seats incorporating barriers do have “a positive impact on spectator safety”. The report was welcomed by the Sports Minster, who added that he was looking forward to the final report and working with the SGSA towards implementing the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to introduce safe standing.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown subsequently curtailing the amount of fieldwork that could be done during the second half of the season, the SGSA confirmed that the final report would be submitted to government in July.

Assuming that it is as positive about the safety benefits of rail seating as the interim report was, it may well lead to a change in the all-seater policy sooner rather than later.