Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Chelsea and Cardiff City have received approval to have a safety license in seated areas from January 1, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said on Monday.
The UK government tasked the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) in September to test safety on certain Premier League and Championship pitches in order to take the first steps to create authorized parking areas.
Almost 30 years ago, the grounds of England’s main divisions were converted to fully-seated stadiums after Liverpool supporters were crushed in overcrowded and fenced-in areas at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989, resulting in kills 97.
“I am pleased to endorse these five clubs as early users of licensed secure parking areas for the second half of the season,” Huddleston said in a statement.
“Now is the time to properly test security in the Premier League and the EFL Championship before a decision on a widespread deployment.
“Safety is absolutely paramount and SGSA is working hand in hand with clubs on this. Fans deserve different options on how they can enjoy a live game and I will be watching the progress of these trials with interest. «
Research is expected to be conducted to assess the implementation of permitted standing zones, after which the government will decide on a potential larger deployment next season.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was thrilled with the move after pressuring the government for safe ranking areas.
“It gives fans attending the game a choice – whether they are home or away – and the vast majority of our fans are in favor of this program,” said Levy.
Clubs will need to meet a number of criteria such as seats with barriers in the home and away sections and seats that cannot be locked in the ‘up’ or ‘down’ position so that fans have the possibility of sitting down during breaks from play.
A code of conduct should also be in place for fans as well as CCTV coverage.
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