After 26 years of being forced to sit Celtic supporters are the first to be officially allowed to stand as the first rail seating area on the UK mainland to hold spectators for a football match was unveiled at Celtic Park in July.
2,975 safe standing rail seats have been installed in one corner of Celtic Park and it was packed with fans for a friendly fixture against German side Wolfsburg.
Attending the launch, Jon Darch from the Safe Standing Roadshow said: “A fantastic atmosphere will be in store for the fans here and for the fans all across the stadium.”
Standing was forbidden with the introduction of the Football Spectators Act after the Hillsborough tragedy back in 1989 (which did not result from standing areas but bad crowd management, by the way), meaning every stadium in the top two divisions in England and Wales had to become all-seater. This did not apply to Scotland, though but the Scottish FA voluntarily fell into line with this law until 2011 when Scottish clubs were allowed to decide on their own if standing areas should be part of the football experience in their grounds.
From the beginning of this season Celtic are the first club to offer their supporters safe standing and it seems as if others could follow. In Wales the Conservatives renewed their commitment to safe standing.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives Andrew RT Davies has been campaigning for similar powers as in Scotland to be given to the Welsh Assembly, which would pave the way for a safe standing trial in Wales.
fs”We would love to see a limited pilot at grounds here in Wales,” Davies said. “Now we have an opportunity to address this discriminatory ruling which sees football fans treated in a way that fans of other sports are not.”
Davies is once again calling on Westminster to hold a pilot in Wales to assess safe standing more closely.
Meanwhile also in the Netherlands safe standing was introduced at PSV Eindhoven and Dutch record champions Ajax Amsterdam may follow in September.
You can find more information on safe standing on the website of our members from the FSF.
Photo credit: Greg Mitchell