It's time to remove standing ban, says ASI

August 12th, 2016. The Adam Smith Institute, a leading Westminster think tank, concludes in a new report on safe standing that it is time for the government to lift the ban on standing at all-seater grounds in England and Wales.

"Tracey Crouch and the government should consider lifting the ban on standing in the Championship and Premiership, and allowing clubs to convert seats to safe standing areas, under the guidelines laid out in the Green Guide, ensuring safety, comfort, and proper sightlines. The government has a chance to deliver a liberalization that will be popular across the board."

That's the conclusion drawn in a report on safe standing produced by the Adam Smith Institute, which bills itself as Britain's leading free market libertarian think tank.

The key points of the report state:

  • The UK has an effective ban on standing sections in football stadia in the top-two tiers of English & Welsh football
  • A recent inquiry does not find standing responsible for the Hillsborough Disaster; by contrast, poor management and policing are judged the culprit; many other recent stadium disasters have happened despite all-seater stadia
  • Advances in seating technology and stadium management make ‘safe standing’ a plausible option for sections of UK football stadia
  • Experience from other sports, lower football tiers, and around Europe show standing can be safe
  • Fans overwhelmingly support the reintroduction of some standing in football stadia, including female fans, whenever they are asked
  • Standing can increase densities, sometimes modestly, and sometimes impressively: this means lower prices for the same revenue, and more price points for clubs to offer
  • European clubs with standing in their stadia have a much wider variation between the cheapest and most expensive tickets: even if Premier League clubs kept their most expensive ticket the same price, bringing the ratio of standing available up to the European level would cut the average cheapest season ticket by 57%, from £514 to £221
  • The UK government should liberalise the safety regime to allow for limited safe standing sections in Premier League and Championship football clubs

The full report can be read here: Adam Smith Insitute - Safe Standing: Why it's time to remove the ban