Welsh Assembly vote supports safe standing

Roadshow unit at Welsh Assembly

July 2014. With support from all parties, the National Assembly for Wales has overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of safe standing. The ‘Individual Members Debate’ was tabled by Assembly Members Andrew RT Davies, Ann Jones, Bethan Jenkins, and Aled Roberts following a visit by the FSF and the Safe StandingRoadshow to The Senedd in June (photo).

The proposal in front of the Assembly was that it:

· Notes the overwhelming appetite amongst football supporters for the introduction of safe standing facilities;

· Calls on the Welsh Government to work closely with sport associations and regulatory authorities to promote safe standing at sports stadia in Wales;

· And calls on the UK Government to consider the introduction of a pilot of safe standing in Wales.

The resounding vote of 26 in favour, 1 against and 20 abstentions was equivalent to a vote of 282 for and 11 against at Westminster.

It was gratifying to see that nearly all of the AMs were well informed about rail seating and understood its fundamental difference to old-fashioned terracing. Only one AM appeared to think that what was being proposed was a return to the days of ‘surging’ and ‘charging’, as he put it. It is to be hoped, therefore, that if Westminster MPs also take the time to inform themselves about rail seating, a similar outcome might be expected in any future Commons debate.

In the meantime, as the relevant legislation is not a devolved matter, Welsh Assembly Members will now deliver an open letter to Sports Minister Helen Grant urging her to introduce a pilot scheme in Wales and to remove legislation that they say “unfairly stigmatises football fans”.

The full 40-minute debate can be viewed here.