Tens of thousands of football fans have signed a petition calling for safe standing to be introduced in the top two tiers of the English game.

The petition has been launched after Premier League club West Bromwich Albion earlier this week had plans to trial a rail-seating section rejected by the government.

West Brom announced on Monday that its hopes of introducing a safe-standing section at The Hawthorns had been dismissed, with Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch ruling that there are no current plans to change the all-seater policy at football stadia.

Standing areas were outlawed in the top two divisions of English football following the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

West Brom had offered to run a pilot scheme in its Smethwick End stand for both home and away fans, and last year submitted a formal application to install such a section this summer.

The club’s director of operations Mark Miles described Crouch’s decision as “short-sighted” and the news was met with equal disappointment by football fans across the country who said they feel safe standing should be allowed.

A rail-seating section is used successfully at Scottish Premiership club Celtic’s home ground, and in Germany at Bundesliga clubs such as Werder Bremen, Hamburg, VfL Wolfsburg, Hannover 96 and Borussia Dortmund.

At the time of writing, the petition has gathered more than 41,000 signatures. The government is required to respond to all petitions that receive more than 100,000 signatures. You can sign the petition here.

Image: Jon Darch