Premier League clubs’ rail seats initiative


Rail seating installed at English stadiums Image: Liverpool FC

The first rail seats at the home of the Premier League club Liverpool F.C.Anfield’s Kop end – have been installed as part of the season-long trial of seats with safety rails.

The ‘Liverpool FC’ stated that following the initial announcement notifying supporters on June 15th, the preparatory work has been completed and the seats are now being set up.

Anfield is a football stadium in Anfield, Liverpool, Merseyside, England (UK), which has a seating capacity of 53,394, making it the seventh largest football stadium in England. It has been the home of Liverpool F.C. since their formation in 1892.

Liverpool Football Club is a professional football club in Liverpool, England, that competes in the Premier League, the top tier of English football. Domestically, the club has won 19 league titles, seven Football Association (FA) Cups, a record eight League Cups, and 15 FA Community Shields.

The Kop end work is already over. The remainder of the work is due to be ready for the start of the new season, with Liverpool F.C.’s first home game against its peer team Burnley F.C. on August 21st.

The 2021-2022 Premier League campaign started on August 13th, 2021 and will end on May 22nd, 2022.

The ‘Liverpool FC’ further stated that as Anfield prepares to welcome fans back for the start of the new season, this trial of seats with safety rails will be in two areas of the stadium that were highlighted in a safety review by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to have an issue with persistent standing. This trial in the Kop and Anfield Road lower tier is to ensure supporters’ safety in these high-risk areas.

The seating being installed includes normal stadium seats with an integrated safety rail behind them to avoid a crowd collapse. They will not impact the visibility of the pitch for supporters. The design is to enable fans to stand safely at key moments in the game, like goal celebrations, but must revert to a seat at other times.

The Kop and Anfield Road Stand have now 7,800 seats updated in the trial. Around 1,800 new seats will be located at the back of the Kop and 6,000 in the Anfield Road Stand lower tier.

With the installation of the new seats at Anfield, the Liverpool F.C. joins a number of Premier League clubs already using this safety method, with further clubs set to install safety rails for the new season.

Supporters attending matches are reminded that Anfield is still an all-seater stadium and fans should remain seated when possible.

Chelsea F.C.

The Premier League club Chelsea F.C. have followed Manchester United’s footsteps by installing rail seating at their residence – Stamford Bridge.

‘The Sun’ stated that ‘The Blues’ have acted in preparation for Premier League safe standing by upgrading both the Matthew Harding and the Shed ends.

The Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, West London (UK). Founded in 1905, the club competes in the Premier League, the top division of English football.

Stamford Bridge is a football stadium in Fulham, adjacent to the borough of Chelsea in South West London, commonly referred to as ‘The Bridge’. It is the home of Premier League club Chelsea. The capacity of the stadium is 40,834, making it the ninth largest venue of the 2019-2020 Premier League seasons.

A statement sent out by ‘The Blues’ read, “Rail seating has been installed in the Matthew Harding lower and Shed End upper and lower tiers. This improvement enhances supporter safety by replacing the current seats in those sections of the stadium. We have decided to act now in order to be ready and prepared for any future Government decision to introduce safe standing in Premier League stadia.”

Pictures emerged in June of ‘The Bridge’ with large sections of their famous blue seats stripped out.

‘The Sun’ further stated that they’ve been completed in time for their Premier League opener at home to Crystal Palace F.C. which took place on August 14th.

‘Blues’ season ticket holders were able to relocate to seating areas only if they wished.

Rail seating provides a waist-high metal frame which interlocks behind each seat which fans will stand behind.

Manchester United

Premier League club Manchester United started construction of their 1,500-capacity safe-standing section in June this year.

‘The Sun’ stated that the ‘rail seats’ came into use when fans graced fixtures at the club’s home – Old Trafford – recently after a hiatus of 17 long months.

The Manchester United Football Club is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), which competes in the Premier League, the top flight of English football.

The Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England (UK), and the home of Manchester United. With a capacity of 74,140 seats, it is the largest club football stadium in the United Kingdom, and the 11th-largest in Europe.

‘The Red Devils’ were given special permission in April last year to become the first Premier League club to trial the new area.

The initial plan was to install 1,500 barrier seats to allow supporters to either sit or stand in the North-East corner of the stadium. But the J Stand area was the one decided upon.

There had been fears the coronavirus pandemic could have put an end to it though, with worries over social distancing.

But United were still keen to introduce the trial, even with fans only allowed back at a reduced amount.

United spent the lockdown period making renovations to Old Trafford, including a new area for disabled fans.

Safe standing was introduced into English football after the Hillsborough disaster and the subsequent Taylor Report.

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