Major League Soccer franchise D.C. United is planning on introducing safe-standing areas at Audi Field for the 2020 season.
The Washington Post newspaper reported that United is spending around $1m (£769,000/€902,000) to install safe-standing railings in Sections 136 and 137 of the 20,000-seat stadium, which opened in 2018.
The railings are expected to be installed by the end of the month ahead of United’s first match of the season against Colorado Rapids on February 29. The areas will also be in use during games played by the D.C. Defenders XFL American football team.
“It truly should have been done in the original design,” the club’s chief business officer Andy Bush told the Post. “Our supporters have asked us for it, and we needed to get it done.”
James Lambert, president of United’s Screaming Eagles fan group, told the Post that safe standing has been the “number one priority” for supporters since Audi Field opened.
Lambert added: “It’s vital to the experience of the game and being able to grow the game in the United States by creating a better atmosphere throughout the stadiums. It’s what makes us different than other US sports leagues.”
Fellow MLS team the New York Red Bulls last month announced plans to introduce a safe-standing area at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls join Los Angeles Galaxy and Los Angeles FC in introducing a rail-seating system.