Wolves to install rail seats in entire stand

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Wolverhampton Wanderers Image: Wolverhampton

English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, also known as Wolves, have announced a plan to become the first club in the UK to install rail seats in an entire stand at their ground, according to multiple media reports.

The seats will be fitted in Molineux’s Sir Jack Hayward Stand, making it ready to be operated in future as a safe-standing area, The Guardian reported.

Announcing the plan at the Premier League club’s end-of-season dinner, Wolves’ managing director Laurie Dalrymple said: “After consultation with South Bank season ticket holders and discussions at fans’ parliament, we are delighted to be in a position to confirm that barrier seating will be installed at Molineux this summer.”

“In April, we sent all supporters who have a season ticket in the South Bank a survey asking them a number of questions about their match-day habits, including whether or not they would be in favor of barrier seating in the stand. An overwhelming majority of 97% told us they would be in favor of the change,” he said.

Standing at grounds in the top two tiers of English football is illegal but new guidance from safety chiefs allows clubs to install seats with barriers if strict conditions are met. Wolves hope to take advantage of the new guidelines in their bid to tackle persistent standing, the BBC reported.

“This is not about safe standing,” Dalrymple told BBC Sport, stating he was not expecting a change in legislation “any time in the near future”. He added: “This is a very strong middle ground. I don’t believe the evidence supports a view that standing in football grounds is something that is inherently dangerous.”

“But I am pleased this revision to the guidelines allows us to do something that permits the fans to be in the stadium and, should they wish to stand, are doing so in a safe environment.”

As well as the rail seats in the Sir Jack Hayward Stand, Wolves added that all seats in the Stan Cullis quadrant would be fitted with an independent barrier, emphasising that both options would fully comply with safety regulations. The club said they had decided to undertake the work this summer, in time for the start of next season, because some of the seats in the South Bank were “coming to the end of their life cycle” and “to mitigate the safety risks of persistent standing”, reported The Guardian.

“Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was built with a similar solution already installed, but Wolves will become the first club to install rail seating in an existing stadium, and I think that is something we should be very proud of.”

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