Scottish Premiership football club Kilmarnock said it is to install safe standing areas for hundreds of fans within its Rugby Park home “very soon.”
The club, which will play in the Europa League for the first time ever in 2019-20, will be the first in the UK to offer a designated area for under-16s to stand. There will be around 166 rail seats for kids in the Family Stand at the 18,128-seat stadium.
Trust in Killie, the supporter-led organisation that funded the £40,000 ($50,700/€44,900) project, has worked alongside the club to identify the East Stand as the other area to install safe standing, with 158 adult spots expected.
The installation project is expected to be complete by mid-September.
Kilmarnock director Cathy Jamieson said: “We have been looking at the option to install safe standing areas for the past few months and after much research, we are delighted to announce that we have agreed on an installation schedule and will be able to offer this very soon.
“Our supporters have been paramount to the process and as the first provincial club in Scotland that will be able to offer this to fans, we really look forward to seeing the project to completion.”
The Football Spectators Act of 1989, which required football grounds to become all-seated following the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989 where 96 Liverpool supporters died, does not cover Scotland. Celtic was the first club in the Scottish Premiership to provide a safe-standing section at Celtic Park in 2016.
In England and Wales, however, all-seating is a requirement of the Premier League and of the Football League for clubs who have been present in the Championship for more than three seasons.
Kilmarnock said safe standing areas will “improve the matchday atmosphere.”
Jamieson continued: “We expect demand for this new area in the East Stand to be high and look forward to improving the matchday experience for our fans in the grounds where camaraderie will further enhance the matchday atmosphere.
“I would like to thank existing Season Ticket holders in this area, some of which have held their seats for a number of years, as they have very kindly agreed to move from the areas affected.
“We have been working hard to ensure they are satisfied with the service they received from our team to make sure they got the best alternative arrangements. Supporters in this area and Trust in Killie members will get first refusal in the new safe standing areas, but we are sure that there will be enough to appeal supporter demands.”
The UK government is scheduled to debate the issue in parliament on June 25 after more than 100,000 football fans signed a petition calling for Premier League and Championship clubs to be allowed to introduce safe standing.