Sport

Manchester United Supporters’ Trust: ‘Safe standing would improve match day atmosphere with no risk of danger’

By Andrew Bardsley

Safe standing at Old Trafford would improve the match day atmosphere at no cost to safety, according to the CEO of Manchester United Supporters’ Trust.

Duncan Drasdo told MM MUST would be in favour of safe standing facilities so those who want to stand can do so safely without inconveniencing those who want to sit.

This comes after 13 English clubs, including Aston Villa, backed proposals by the Football Supporters’ Federation to pilot the safe standing system used by German clubs such as Borussia Dortmund.

Mr Drasdo said: “It would also result in a major boost to atmosphere if fans can gather in groups with friends instead of being dotted isolated around the stadium.

“As many fans stand anyway clearly it would be safer for them to stand in a purpose designed area with barriers across each row.”

All-seater stadiums were made compulsory after the 1994 Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster, but the Mr Drasdo believes the new system makes standing safe.

“The recent report on Hillsborough showed the problem wasn’t caused by fans behaviour but rather by poor stadium design and policing errors.

“Clearly a purpose built safe standing area with proper access control and barriers across every row could have prevented the build up and crush which caused injuries and death.”

The ‘rail seat’ system has both a safety barrier and flip down seat, allowing seats to be used as is required in European competitions.

Mr Drasdo believes standing could be introduced at Old Trafford if it makes financial sense to the Glazer family.

“That is certainly possible according to studies on the economic feasibility of safe standing areas which allow higher and safer capacity and result in much higher supporter satisfaction,” he said.

“Some people would actually pay more to stand than to sit.

“The atmosphere in grounds has suffered immensely ever since all seater stadia were imposed without any consultation of fans.

“Why not actually consult the fans for once and let them choose for themselves?”

For more information about MUST visit www.joinmust.org

Picture courtesy of Liliii16, with thanks.

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