Man United to extend safe standing areas


ManUnited extends safe standing Image: Coliseum GSVA

The Premier League team Manchester United’s successful adoption of ‘safe-standing’ areas in their residence – the Old Trafford in Stretford, England (UK) – will be extended by a further 2,100 seats for the upcoming 2023-2024 seasons starting on August 11th and concluding on May 19th, 2024.

‘MANCHESTER UNITED’ stated that the additional rail seats will be in the South-West quadrant of the stadium, adjoining the Stretford End and home of the club’s vocal Red Army fan group. Installation is due to be completed ahead of Man United’s first home Premier League fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. on August 14th.

The Manchester United Football Club, commonly referred to as Man United, or simply United, is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK). The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of the English football league system.

The Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,310 it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and the 11th-largest in Europe.

‘MANCHESTER UNITED’ further stated that United has been expanding safe standing around Old Trafford since January 2022, when the stadium was one of five around England chosen for an initial trial, which began with 1,500 rail seats within the North-East quadrant and 2,500 in the away section.

The latest installation will bring the total number of rail seats in the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ to more than 6,000.

Following the successful trial, the club was granted a license by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to continue offering safe standing and expand it to other parts of the stadium. Six other Premier League clubs are also applying for licenses to expand their rail-seating sections.

London (UK)-based the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Until 2011, it was known as the Football Licensing Authority, having been set up under the Football Spectators Act 1989. The SGSA was established through the Sports Grounds Safety Authority Act 2011, which received Royal assent in July 2011 and commenced on November 1st, 2011.

The aim of the SGSA is to ensure that all spectators regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability, or the team that they support are able to attend sports grounds in safety, comfort and security.

Said Rick McGagh, Manchester United Head of Fan Engagement, “We believe safe-standing areas give fans choice about how they watch the game, and increase safety in areas where persistent standing has historically occurred. It is something our fans have long campaigned for and we are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from supporters who have stood in the areas we have operated for the past 18 months. We are committed to improving the matchday experience for all our fans. And we will continue to review the potential to install it in other areas of the stadium where appropriate.”

The introduction of licensed standing areas follows research which found that rail seats help reduce the safety risks for fans, compared with standing in normal seated areas.

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