Devolved sports ground safety for Wales?
January 4, 2016. The Welsh Conservatives have added new impetus to their campaign for safe standing, calling for responsibility for sports ground safety to be devolved from Westminster to Cardiff in order to enable safe standing trials to be run in Wales.
Party Leader, Andrew RT Davies (pictured), has long led the call for a safe standing pilot in Wales and in December 2014 commissioned a survey of supporters in the UK which found that some 96% back the introduction of such standing areas. Mr Davies is now calling for the devolution of responsibility for sports ground safety to the Welsh Assembly. The plans would enable a safe standing pilot to be undertaken in Wales.
Mr Davies has previously met with the Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to discuss safe standing and will write to her to formally request the transfer of powers to the Welsh Assembly.
The announcement comes in a new video released by the Welsh Conservatives today which can be seen here:
Writing for the Welsh Conservatives’ website - YourVoice - Mr Davies said the issue of standing was one of “fairness” and said that it was time for a pilot to sensibly assess the evidence around safe standing.
He said: “Safe standing is a question of fairness. How can it be safe to stand at a rugby match or a concert yet somehow inherently unsafe to stand at the football - often in the same stadiums?
“That simple distinction has never made any sense outside of the context of social attitudes towards football supporters in the 1980s. We wouldn’t accept that kind of discrimination against any other social group or demographic, so why accept it when it’s levelled at football fans?"
Under Welsh Conservative proposals the Sports Ground Safety Authority would continue to monitor safety at grounds. However, the devolution of responsibility for regulation would enable a Welsh Conservative Government to lift the ban on standing areas and hold a pilot in Wales, where there is cross party backing for safe standing following a vote in 2014.