Safe Standing in Football

Stephen Hepburn, MP for the Jarrow Constituency, has raised the issue of safe standing areas at football stadiums with Government Sport Ministers in Parliament. 

Mr Hepburn asked the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: “Will the Government give football fans an early Christmas present by announcing their intention to sanction the introduction of safe standing at stadiums next season?”

The Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies MP, responded with: “I have already met representatives of the Sports Ground Safety Authority, and a small analysis is currently under way. This is a hot topic on my desk, and I will make further announcements in January. In respect of sports ground safety more broadly, I have asked the authority to work with those in charge of the Qatar 2022 World cup to ensure that travelling fans also have a safe experience.”

Earlier this year, a Parliamentary petition was started to ‘Allow Premier League and Championship football clubs to introduce safe standing’. It has now been signed by 112,000 people in the UK, including by over 400 people in the Jarrow constituency alone. Just under 700 people signed it in South Tyneside. 

The petition was started after the Government rejected a proposal by West Bromwich Albion FC for a pilot scheme to replace 3,600 seats at its ground with rail seating. Despite this, in 2016, Celtic FC were granted permission to install a 3,000-capacity safe standing area at their stadium. 

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) has a longstanding campaign to allow safe standing at football stadiums. The group are calling for ‘existing legislation and ground rules that penalise supporters for standing at football and engender conflict amongst and against fans’ to be scrapped. Last month, the English Football League (EFL) backed the safe standing campaign. 

Stephen Hepburn MP said:

“Despite the ongoing Brexit chaos from this Government, I welcome the fact that Ministers have said that an analysis is underway regarding safe standing areas at football stadiums and further announcements are expected.

"As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters, I believe that the Government should be looking at this issue further considering that 112,000 people across the country signed the petition. The fact that well over 400 local people in the Jarrow Constituency alone signed it shows the strength of feeling on the issue.

"I was pleased that the 2017 Labour election manifesto pledged to give football supporters a greater say in how their clubs are run as well as calling for sport to be run in the interests of those who participate in it and love it.

"I will continue to press the Government so that they make the further announcements that they have assured me.”

Meet your MP

 Stephen-Hepburn-MP

Stephen Hepburn has served the Jarrow Constituency as MP since 1997.

He was last elected to serve in June 2017 and won the seat with a conclusive 17,263 majority.

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