Safe standing pilot begins at Old Trafford



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Safe standing re-introduced in the UK Image: Tripadvisor

The professional football club Manchester United F.C. (UK) fans were among the first football supporters to be legally allowed to stand while watching a Premier League game, when the club’s safe standing trial got underway during the fixture against its peer team Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. on January 3rd, 2022.

The ‘Manchester United’ stated that late in 2021, the Manchester United F.C. along with Premier League teams Chelsea F.C., Manchester City F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., and the Championship team Cardiff City F.C. – was authorized as one of the first top-flight outfits to enable standing in almost three decades.

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

The Old Trafford is a football stadium in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, 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 match against Wolves was the first game to be played at Old Trafford as part of the new safe standing trial, with 1,519 barrier seats in use within the North East quadrant section (also known as J Stand), plus 571 in the away section.

The ‘Manchester United’ further stated that the designated grounds were selected following a thorough application process last year, which was open to any ground covered by the all-seater policy (the Premier League and the Championship), led by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA).

The Old Trafford’s 1,519-capacity barrier seating section has been in place since the start of the 2021-2022 seasons, as safety mitigation to persistent standing.

Now, barrier seating has also been added to an area of the away section. One of the conditions of the safe standing trial was that away fans would also have access to safe standing.

The introduction of barrier seating and safe standing shows the positive working relationship between the club and its Fans Forum, along with the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST).

And if the safe standing trial progresses well during the remainder of the 2021-2022 campaign, the club is committed to investigating the potential for installing barrier seating in other areas of the stadium.

In November 2021, following confirmation that the Manchester United F.C. would be one of the first five clubs involved in the trial, the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Collette Roche, said safe standing offered more choice and safer solutions for the Manchester United supporters.

Earlier, Roche stated, “We are delighted that Old Trafford will be among the first stadiums in England where safe standing will be trialed from January. This follows the successful installation of barrier seating in the North-East quadrant and we will now follow SGSA guidelines that mandate some barrier seating in the away section. While the majority of the stadium will remain seated, we firmly believe safe standing can create choice and increase safety for fans in areas where persistent standing has historically occurred, and we’ll continue to review the potential to install it in other appropriate parts of the ground.”

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