THE Football League have agreed to lobby the Government with a view to changing the current policy on standing areas at their members’ grounds.
Championship clubs are currently required to play football in all-seater venues.
The Football Stadia Improvement Fund, meanwhile, will only provide assisting grants for League One and Two teams’ new stadia if the clubs agree not to include terraced areas.
All 72 Football League clubs were recently asked to answer four questions on the subject of standing with around 70 per cent understood to be in favour of “the Football League approaching the Minister for Sport to request that all-seater stadia requirements for Championship clubs be reviewed with a view to the re-introduction of standing accommodation.”
The other questions that resulted in a majority of “Yes” votes were “Should the Football League approach the Sports Ground Safety Authority to request that rail-seating products be licenced in Football League grounds?”, “Should clubs be permitted to accommodate supporters standing in rail seating in the Championship” and “Should clubs be permitted to revert from seating to standing accommodation in League One and League Two following relegation from the Championship?”
The Football League have now vowed to engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholder organisations regarding these matters and will then hold further discussions with its member clubs.
Shaun Harvey, the Football League’s chief executive, added: “The consultation has given us a better understanding of the wide range of views held by clubs on this issue and we will take our cue from the prevailing opinion.
“We recognised that this is both a complicated and sensitive matter that will need significant debate. Therefore, no one should assume it will lead to overnight change.”
The biggest opposition to a change in standing policy is likely to come from Liverpool out of respect for the families of the 96 supporters who lost their lives on the terraces during the Hillsborough disaster.