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Premier League club open to ‘safe standing’ trial

By Matthew Campelli    26 Jun 2017
The Hawthorns has a capacity of 26,850 / David Davies/EMPICS Sport

West Bromwich Albion (WBA) has become the first Premier League football club to officially declare its interest in creating a standing area for supporters at its home ground.

The Premier League has asked all 20 clubs if they would be interested in taking part in a trial to reintroducing standing sections within their stadiums.

Following a study investigating the impact such a zone would have on WBA’s Hawthorns stadium, the club has responded positively.

“I have written back to the Premier League and told them our position remains that we would be very keen to be involved in a pilot,” said WBA director of operations Mark Miles.

A trial for safe standing has been taking place in Celtic’s Parkhead stadium, where 2,600 standing spaces have been created for supporters.

After visiting the Glasgow-based stadium, Miles said there was “little doubt” that the trial was “clearly welcomed by the supporters”.

However, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has repeatedly said there were “no plans” to introduce standing accommodation at stadiums covered by the all-seater requirement, with all grounds in the top two divisions needing to be all-seater following the Hillsborough disaster.

A report published by the DCMS in February said the government department “remains unconvinced” of the safety credentials of safe standing zones.

But that hasn’t stopped football clubs planning for a change of position. Tottenham Hotspur is building its ambitious new stadium to make a transition from seating to standing seamless, while West Ham United chair David Gold has made it clear that he wishes to create similar zones within the London Stadium.

Premier League  West Bromwich Albion 
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