Conservative MEP calls for safe standing at top football grounds

There is now a strong case for introducing safe standing areas at top flight football grounds across the EU Conservative Sport spokesman Emma McClarkin MEP has told a European Parliament committee.

Introducing her input into a new convention on safety at sports grounds, Ms. McClarkin said huge advances had been made since terracing was banned at major English football stadia following the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster. Other European countries also introduced similar measures.

She told the Parliament’s culture committee: "After the tragic stadium disasters in the 1980s like Hillsborough and Heysel, it was absolutely right that the Council of Europe and European Union co-operated to put supporter safety first, creating the 1985 European Convention on Spectator Violence, which has largely stood the test of time.

"The time has now come to update the Convention as soon as possible and I believe there is a good argument for expanding the provision of safe standing terraces in the top tiers of English football.

"It is clear that modern infrastructure and policing are more than capable of dealing with this. Safe standing already operated very successfully in the German Bundesliga and also in Scotland. Within the framework of implementing the Convention, member state governments should consider whether and to what extent safe standing can be integrated into modern sports safety practices."

She added: "Through taking an evidence based approach which takes into account the views of supporters’ groups, we can ensure that the Council of Europe Convention for an Integrated Approach to Safety, Security and Service is relevant and will keep supports attending top flight matches safe."

In August 2018 the English Football Association publically supported the optional implementation of safe standing areas at Premier League and Championship stadiums.

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