Five football clubs across the Premier League and Championship appear set to introduce safe standing at their stadiums from January 1.
According to The Times, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Cardiff City will form part of an early-adopter programme, which will see fans legally allowed to stand in the top two divisions of English football for the first time in more than 25 years.
It was reported last month that six clubs had applied for their stadiums to form part of the safe-standing trial. It came after clubs had been invited to take part in an early-adopter programme, with Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston having instructed the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to take the first steps in creating licensed standing areas at Premier League and Championship stadiums.
The Times has now reported that four clubs in the Premier League and one in the Championship will form part of the trial, with an official announcement expected this month. The report added that Wolverhampton Wanderers had applied to be part of the early-adopter scheme but withdrew its application because of requirements for away fans.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which has a capacity of over 61,000, will feature safe-standing areas to accommodate more than 10,000 fans, according to The Times. Tottenham and Cardiff confirmed in September that they would apply to take part in the early-adopter scheme.
Chelsea completed its installation of rail seating at Stamford Bridge back in August, in time for the new Premier League season. The rail seating has been installed in the Matthew Harding Lower and Shed End Upper and Lower tiers of the stadium.
Manchester United fans were able to sample new rail seating at Old Trafford during a friendly match against Brentford in July. Manchester City detailed plans to install 5,620 rail seats in the lower tier of the Etihad Stadium’s South Stand earlier in the year.
Following the trial, it is expected that more clubs will look to introduce rail seating at their grounds next summer in time for the 2022-23 season.
Standing has been outlawed in the top two leagues of English football since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans.
Image: Manchester United