Professional service company KPMG has published a new report on the possible introduction of safe standing areas in more football stadiums around Europe.
While 16 of the 18 teams in the German Bundesliga top-tier club competition have some safe standing areas in place, the trend is yet to fully catch on in other countries and leagues across the continent.
National legislation in England, France, Italy and Spain states that each venue must provide a numbered seat for each spectator, and although this does not strictly refer to ticket-holders having the right to stand, it does not permit the introduction of safe standing areas.
However, KPMG said that despite similarities in legislation, the approach does vary across different leagues.
For example, the Article 13 of the English Football League ground regulations states “nobody may stand in any seating area whilst play is in progress”. The regulations apply to teams in the top-tier Premier League and second-tier Championship.
However, in France, a number of teams have installed numbered seats designed to allow standing alongside them. Similarly, clubs in the Spanish LaLiga top-tier both recognise and encourage specific supporting areas for fans that wish to stand during matches.
Video: Celtic’s safe standing area explained here
KPMG concluded its investigation by stating: “In addition to providing an intense match atmosphere, there is certainly a commercial case for safe standing, especially in stadia with high utilisation rates.
“Moreover, fan organisations have demonstrated their support for the introduction of safe standing and a few clubs, especially in England, have been more willing recently to approach the topic and have entered into consultation with their supporters.
“However, the question remains whether this will be enough. Indeed, in their latest report on sports strategy, the British government confirmed it remains unconvinced by the case for reintroducing standing accommodation, confirming that such a process will undoubtedly be very time-consuming.”
Despite the Department for Culture, Media and Sport recently announcing it remained “unconvinced” by the case for standing, English clubs have been keeping a close eye on the success of the safe standing areas that were introduced at Celtic’s Celtic Park last summer. Reports claim that Manchester United are interested in adding safe standing in a planned redevelopment of Old Trafford, while the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) began a consultation on the subject with their members.
Scottish Premiership club Celtic were granted a safe-standing licence in June 2015 by Glasgow City Council.