Writer: Site Staff
Date:Wednesday May 30 2007
FOOTBALL FANS LAUNCH NEW REPORT ON SAFE STANDING
The Football Supporters` Federation has today (Wed 30 May 2007) launched a major new report Safe Standing at Major Stadia in England & Wales - a 21st Century Solution.
The report advocates the introduction of safe standing areas at major stadia in England & Wales hosting Premier League and Football League Championship matches. Standing areas at grounds in the top two divisions are currently banned by Government regulations, following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Three simultaneous press conferences will be held to launch the report:
The Offside Bar,
273 City Road, lslington, EC1V 1LA
Sloper Road, Leckwith, Cardiff, CF11 8SX
Professional Footballers` Association
20 Oxford Court, Bishopsgate Manchester. M2 3WQ
Copies of the report will be available at the press conferences.
Commenting on the report FSF national council member and Portsmouth fan Pam Wilkins said, 'I know thousands of Pompey fans, as well as supporters of other teams, will be delighted if their club is given the right to introduce safe standing. It`s probably one of the few things that most Pompey supporters would agree with most Southampton fans about!'
Her guess wasn`t wrong, Steve Godwin, chair of the Saints Trust said, 'The Saints Trust welcome an open and honest debate on the feasibility of introducing safe standing areas in football stadia in England & Wales'.
In Wales, Cardiff City and Swansea City fans are on the same page on this issue, Swans fan Richard Lillicrap said, 'I think grown-ups should be treated as grown-ups. Those who want to stand should be given that choice.' Bluebirds fan Vince Alm, said, 'I`d like to see safe standing areas at our new ground. Most Cardiff fans I know want a choice. Lots prefer to stand. Why can`t they?'
In Manchester the issue reaches across the blue/red divide. City fan Phill Gatenby said, 'I`ve been campaigning for yonks for standing to be allowed. Why is it I can go to gig, to watch rugby league or union, or even in the cups at lower division grounds and stand, but not watching my own team? The government need to get off supporters` backs and let us enjoy ourselves. It would bring down ticket prices too.' United fan Mark Longden agreed with him. ''Phill and I will agree on just about nothing except this. It`s the only bit of football that most fans in Manchester, blue or red, are agreed on. We want the right to stand.'
In the Potteries, Port Vale and Stoke City fans are united on the issue. City fan Malcolm Clarke said, 'Many Potters would welcome a return of the choice to stand in safety which they used to have at the old Victoria Ground. Most Vale fans I know were very disappointed when the terraces disappeared at their place.' Vale fan Ash Connor said, ''I hesitate to agree with a City fan about anything but Malcolm`s right. All fans should have the right to chose whether to sit or stand at a match.'
Commenting on the report`s contents, FSF Head of Development Steven Powell, an Arsenal supporter said, 'A lot of fans from many different clubs have worked long and hard to produce what I think is a very well-argued case for safe standing. I only hope that the Government and the football authorities sit up and take notice.
Following its launch copies of the report will be posted to all Westminster MPs, Government departments, the football authorities all Assembly Members (AMs) at the National Assembly for Wales, as well as many others. 'We`re looking for a calm, fact-based debate on this issue' said Powell, 'Supporters who prefer to stand deserve no less.'
The report`s foreword has been written by Dr Anne Eyres, a survivor of the Hillsborough tragedy.
*The FSF represents over 140,000 individual and affiliated members supporting clubs and national teams at all levels throughout England & Wales.
*The FSF is a voluntary organisation which campaigns on behalf of football fans at all levels of the game.
*The organisation was formed in 2002 when the two major fans` organisations - the Football Supporters` Association and the National Federation of Football Supporters` Clubs combined.
Date:Wednesday May 30 2007
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