UEFA green light to safe standing pilot


Safe standing back in European football Image: MJR Group Ltd./Coliseum

The members of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Executive Committee recently voted in favor of the provisional return of standing areas for fans.

‘NDTV Sports’ stated that safe standing will be trialed in European club matches in England, Germany and France this season in a move which could see an end to a ban on standing introduced more than 30 years ago.

This will be limited to the three countries which already authorize such spaces – France, Germany and England.

‘kicker’ stated that voting was done via email recently and UEFA confirmed the same.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is one of six continental bodies of governance in association football. It governs football, futsal and beach soccer in Europe as well as Israel in Asia and the Eurasian transcontinental countries of Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. UEFA consists of 55 national association members. Because of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, FIFA and UEFA suspended all Russian national representative teams and club teams from any FIFA and UEFA competitions.

‘kicker’ further stated that starting this season, the European Cup participants from Germany, England and France will again be allowed to trial safe standing in the three European club competitions – Champions League, Europa League and the Europa Conference League. The above regulation initially applies to the 2022-2023 seasons, but is to be extended if it proves to be successful.

To this end, UEFA will commission independent experts who will analyze and evaluate the rehearsal phase at the end of the season, which will be carried out as part of an “observation program”.

The UEFA Champions League is an annual club football competition organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs, deciding the competition winners through a round robin group stage to qualify for a double-legged knockout format, and a single leg final. It is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football played by the national league champions (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of their national associations.

The UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, is an annual football club competition organized since 1971 by the UEFA for eligible European football clubs.

The UEFA Europa Conference League, colloquially referred to as the UEFA Conference League, is an annual football club competition organized by UEFA for eligible European football clubs.

Permission for standing room was also granted to clubs from Spain and Italy. However, there will be no European Cup participants from these two countries whose stadium has standing room capacity. It is up to the clubs to decide whether guest fans will also be allowed to stand in Germany, England and France.

In an open letter to UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin in Spring 2019, the fans’ initiative – ‘Europe Wants To Stand’ – stated that the Hillsborough tragedy was not a result of fans standing and moreover, the “Bundesliga matches have proved that it is possible to reconsider the idea of safe standing without any safety risk”.

The Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund (Germany) boss Hans-Joachim Watzke personally requested Čeferin recently to consider the return of safe standing areas and met with success.

Move welcomed

Stated Watzke, “The above comes as a great piece of news. Standing areas is an important part of our football culture. Borussia Dortmund has campaigned intensively in recent years to allow safe standing in international matches. I thank Čeferin and request fans to behave in a more responsible manner while at the stands next season.”

The Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt Board Member Philipp Reschke observed, “A wise and courageous decision by UEFA. Safe standing at international matches was something for which everybody was campaigning for a long time. Due to the huge initiative taken by Football Supporters Europe, safe standing is being allowed again. Their hard work and persuasion has paid off.”

The Bundesliga club 1. FC Union Berlin also welcomed the UEFA pilot project to allow safe standing.

Enthused Dirk Zingler, 1. FC Union Berlin President, “We are very happy about the above decision. We will discuss and implement the necessary infrastructural adjustments with the UEFA Stadium Committee at the earliest possible.”

The head honcho of the Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Fernando Carro, informed, “We will immediately initiate all necessary steps to facilitate safe standing. The above step is a milestone for international football.”

Standing Ban

‘NDTV Sports’ quoted Gregor Weinreich, member of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) group and coordinator of the ‘Europe Wants To Stand’ campaign launched in 2019, as stating, “This is a historic victory for the European supporter movement. We welcome UEFA’s move towards a fact-based security policy, taking into account the needs and expectations of active supporters.”

UEFA said that safe standing has gradually returned “in certain national competitions”.

Said the body in a statement, “Football supporters across Europe as well as clubs who regularly use standing facilities at domestic level have expressed increasing interest for UEFA to consider standing facilities at European matches.”

Fans include those of Borussia Dortmund whose famous ‘Yellow Wall’ boasts 24,000 safe standing places.

The UEFA executive committee decided recently on a “standing room observation program in stadiums during the 2022-2023 seasons”.

Added UEFA, “The objective is to assess if and under what conditions standing may be reintroduced in UEFA competitions in a safe manner.”

Safe standing will be allowed during the group stages and knockout phases up to and including the semi-finals of the UEFA men’s club competitions.

The finals, however, are excluded.

All-seater stadiums have become the norm in recent decades following a series of disasters.

Standing at games was outlawed by UEFA following the tragedies of Hillsborough in 1989 and at Furiani in Corsica (France) in 1992.

At the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Premier League (UK) teams Liverpool F.C. and Nottingham Forest F.C. at Hillsborough in Sheffield, 97 people were killed.

Nineteen fans died at Furiani during a French Cup semi-final in 1992.

The rule of 100 percent seats imposed by UEFA for its competitions became “obsolete” as stadiums were renovated.

Continue to follow Coliseum for latest updates on venues business news. Coliseum is dedicated towards building the best global community of sports and entertainment venue executives and professionals creating better and more profitable venues.

Become a member of the only Global Sports Venue Alliance and connect with stadiums, arenas and experts from around the world. Apply for membership at coliseum-online.com/alliance and make use of the 365Coliseum Business.

Watch 250 member-exclusive videos with valuable tips for your venue

« Previous News:
» Next News:

Advertisement Coliseum Summit News Banner - SGL System
Advertisement Coliseum Summit news banner - NEXO