The majority of UK MPs are in favour of safe standing being introduced at football stadia in England’s top two divisions, according to a YouGov survey.
Standing has been outlawed in the top two leagues of English football since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 football fans.
Countries such as Scotland, France and the Netherlands have lifted a ban on standing in recent years and an increasing number of clubs in England have detailed plans to adopt solutions such as rail seating at their home stadia.
The UK government announced last June that it had commissioned an official review into safe standing at football stadia and this review is ongoing. A survey of 100 MPs by YouGov has now found that 62 per cent are in favour, with 22 against and 15 undecided.
The Press Association, citing the results of the survey, added that three quarters of MPs who consider themselves football fans supported safe standing.
A separate survey quizzing more than 2,000 adults also found that nearly half would back the notion of safe standing, with more than a third saying they did not know. Seven out of 10 adults who have an interest in football would be in favour, with this proportion rising to 80 per cent among those who said they have a “strong” interest in the game.
Richard Elliot, an associate director at YouGov, told the Press Association: “Close to two-thirds of the 100 MPs surveyed support safe-standing areas and that support is even higher among the general public with a strong interest in football.
“The main reason given for opposition among MPs and the public was a belief that standing at stadiums can never be safe. So although there’s strong support out there, there’s still important work to do to address safety concerns.”
It remains unlikely that safe standing will be introduced in England’s top two divisions next season given complications relating to Brexit and the ongoing legal cases surrounding the Hillsborough disaster. As a result, the 2020-21 campaign is a more likely target.
Image: Jon Darch