Western Sydney Wanderers are preparing to set a first for Australian football with a safe standing area installed and tested at Bankwest Stadium.
The system has been introduced as the new stadium prepares to stage its first football match, the A-League club’s friendly game against English Championship team Leeds United on July 20.
A group of Wanderers members became the first fans to see the safe standing in action yesterday (Wednesday) when they were joined by Wanderers defender Tarek Elrich and chief executive John Tsatsimas at the stadium.
Only a section of the active support area was tested, but when fully deployed 1,260 seats will be removed from Bankwest Stadium’s northern end and replaced with rails to accommodate 1,260 standing spaces.
“This safe standing represents a landmark moment for Australian football,” said Tsatsimas. “It’s something we’ve lobbied for long and hard and now it’s come to fruition. It’s the first time an Australian football team has been able to have a safe standing area, and we’re glad to be leading the charge in terms of active support.”
The Wanderers are set to play all 13 home matches at Bankwest Stadium from the 2019-20 A-League season onwards. The club signed a 10-year deal to play at the stadium in February. The Wanderers have spent the past three years playing at ANZ Stadium and Spotless Stadium, with attendances having suffered.
The 30,000-capacity Bankwest Stadium staged its first sports game on April 22. The sixth round of rugby league’s NRL Premiership saw the Parramatta Eels christen their new home in style with an impressive 51-6 victory over Wests Tigers.
Image: Bankwest Stadium