Premier League football club Liverpool has announced that it will be applying for a safe-standing licence at Anfield following a successful trial of rail seating in sections of the stadium.
Liverpool will expand the phased rail seating installation programme on a permanent basis moving forward. The club will apply for the safe-standing licence following a review of the effectiveness of rail seating in relation to fans’ safety at the end of the trial period.
Rail seating was first introduced in two areas of Anfield during the 2020-21 close season, with the initial trial resulting in 7,800 rail seats being installed in the Kop and the lower tier of the Anfield Road Stand. A second phase saw 2,500 additional rail seats added to the Kop during the break for last season’s World Cup in Qatar.
The next installation phase will take place this summer when 3,000 new rail seats will be placed in the Kop, in the remainder of blocks 202-208 up to row 33. This will take the total to 7,425 rail seats in the Kop and Liverpool plans on further extending rail seating in the stand next year.
Recommendations from the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) state that stadiums with rail seating for more than two years must apply for a safe-standing licence. The move will see the introduction of safe-standing areas across all rail seating sections in the Kop and lower Anfield Road Stand from next season.
Safe-standing areas are licensed by the SGSA and fans must be able to sit or stand. Briefing and training will be in place for staff and stewards to ensure only relevant ticket holders are admitted to the licensed standing areas.
So far, six other Premier League clubs have applied for and have been awarded a safe-standing licence: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Brentford and Chelsea. Earlier this year, Newcastle United announced that safe standing will be trialled for home fans at St. James’ Park at the start of next season.
Liverpool season ticket holders whose seats are impacted by the latest changes will be contacted directly in due course. The club has held consultations with its supporters’ board about the permanent extension of railed seating and its planned application for a safe-standing licence.
Andy Hughes, managing director at Liverpool, said: “Following an extensive review of our rail seating trial, we’re delighted to confirm it has been successful and is now a permanent feature at Anfield.
“We also examined how effective rail seating is in terms of the health and safety of our fans, and we came to the conclusion that the management of rail seating areas would benefit from safe standing areas.
“So that’s why we have taken the decision to apply for a safe-standing licence, which will see the introduction of safe standing areas across all stadium sections with rail seating from next season. The health and safety of our supporters when attending matches at Anfield is, and always will be, paramount.”
Anfield’s capacity will increase to more than 61,000 for the 2023-24 season as 7,000 more seats are added to the Anfield Road Stand. Work on the project commenced in 2021.
Teams across the Premier League and Championship have been able to introduce safe-standing areas since the start of last season after former UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston approved the wider roll-out last summer.
Standing had previously not been permitted in the top two leagues of English football since a law was introduced in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans.