English Championship football club Barnsley has been forced to close the West Stand at Oakwell until further notice after structural inspections found that various remedial works are required.
The move has been taken to ensure the protection of all fans. The stand (right of picture) is 130 years old and inspections have revealed structural challenges, safety concerns and potential crowd management issues.
The stand will be closed immediately, meaning that neither fans nor directors will be able to access their seat for Barnsley’s next home match against Sheffield United on October 24. The stand will remain operational on match days for visiting journalists and media.
Barnsley has close to 1,000 seasonal members that have reserved seats in the West Stand for the 2021-22 season and a relocation process for those wishing to move will now take place. Impacted supporters have been contacted individually.
Barnsley chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad said: “The safety and security of supporters and staff is of the utmost importance. I made a promise internally to both staff and fans alike to be transparent regardless of how difficult the news is to share.
“The decision is purely based on a structural report and a number of West Stand-specific crowd management challenges. With the history associated to this stand, in addition to the knowledge that a number of supporters have sat here for consecutive seasons, the club appreciates both the emotional and practical problems this decision brings.
“Please know that we have members of staff working tirelessly to implement solutions in time for our next home game.”
Barnsley said the situation would remain under review with updates to be provided accordingly.
Fellow Championship club Birmingham City has been forced to partially close sections of St Andrew’s this season due to problems with steelworks in the stands. The repair work required in the Kop and Tilton stands reduced the stadium’s capacity by about a third from 29,400 to just over 20,000.