Everton has revealed plans to include rail seating at its proposed new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock in preparation for safe standing if legislation changes in the future.
According to the Liverpool Echo newspaper, club officials presented plans to include rail seating in the South and North stands of the stadium from when it opens. Away supporters, who often opt to stand, would use one of the sections.
The Premier League club will unveil more details about the proposed stadium during the second stage of public consultation, which begins on July 26.
Everton has already revealed that it is targeting a capacity of 52,000 for its proposed new stadium, with the potential for it to rise to 62,000 in the future.
Everton said it means to ensure the stadium can be adapted to introduce safe standing should government legislation on all-seater stadia change.
Standing has been outlawed in the top two leagues of English football since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.
The UK government last year commissioned an official review into safe standing, with the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s (SGSA), the body responsible for stadium safety, allowing rail seating to be installed.
The SGSA Green Guide document, used by all stadium managers, referred to ‘seats incorporating barriers’, which could be installed and still meet the government’s all-seater policy, as long as certain strict conditions were met.
Rail seating means that each ticket holder has a designated seat, which can be locked upright allowing fans to stand up, with each row having its own safety barrier.
Last month, Wolverhampton Wanderers announced that it will install a new barrier seating solution at Molineux. The West Midlands stadium became one of the first grounds in the Premier League to pilot the seating options.
Celtic Park installed a safe standing section in 2016 for up to 3,000 fans after Scotland relaxed its stadia requirements. German Bundesliga clubs Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg have successfully implemented rail seating.
After a petition reached 112,000 signatures for the UK government to change its policy on safe standing, a Commons debate led to the government commissioning an external review.
The report on the review to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that it still believed “all-seater stadia were the best current means to ensure the safety and security of fans.
“However, the DCMS would consider relevant advances in technology and data.”
Image: Jon Darch