San Mamés, home of Spanish LaLiga football team Athletic Club, is set to be fitted with a safe standing area as part of plans to improve the fan experience at the 53,000-seat stadium.

The LaLiga Newsletter reports that a rail seating system has been introduced at the Bilbao venue, which opened in 2013 as a replacement for the old San Mamés.

Fan polls have shown that safe standing would be popular at the stadium, with supporters stating their preference for standing even when seats are in the way

The initiative comes as San Mamés prepares to be a host venue during next year’s UEFA European Championships, which will be staged in stadia across the continent.

Borja González Bilbao, Athletic Club’s director of stadium operations, said: “This development will allow our liveliest supporters to remain standing, singing and jumping throughout the game, without risking their safety or that of those around them.

“San Mamés is a stadium with impressive qualities in terms of safety and accessibility and, in cases where the fans remain standing, it allows us to avoid surges when, for example, celebrating a goal.”

Image: Marco Almbauer