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Fan Experience

Forest to debut safe standing at City Ground

Featured image credit: Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest has announced it will introduce sections of safe standing within the City Ground in time for the start of the 2024-25 season.

The Premier League club said work will commence in the summer on what is envisioned to be approximately 2,300 safe standing spaces for home supporters in the Upper Bridgford Stand, Blocks U1 and U2, and Lower Bridgford Stand Block Z. Safe standing for away supporters will be located in the Lower Bridgford Stand Block W.

Forest said the decision to introduce safe standing reflects the club’s “ongoing commitment to fan engagement”. The topic was raised at the latest meeting of the recently-formed Fan Advisory Board, with the club and fan groups, including Forza Garibaldi, presenting their views on the subject and discussing the merits of its introduction.

Earlier this month, Liverpool confirmed that rail seating will be installed in the remainder of the Kop ahead of the 2024-25 season. The club trialled rail seating last season, and announced in July last year that it was applying for a safe-standing licence at Anfield. Liverpool then began a phased installation programme throughout the Kop, with the final stages scheduled to be completed this summer.

Other Premier League clubs to make similar announcements this season include Luton Town and  AFC Bournemouth.

Nottingham Forest chairman, Tom Cartledge, said: “By embracing safe standing, the club aims to not only to tackle the issue of persistent standing which has presented the club with serious safety concerns in recent years, but also to enhance the stadium environment to celebrate the passionate support and dedication of our fans.

“This initiative underscores our dedication to providing the best possible match day experience for our fans whilst prioritising their safety and comfort. Safe standing represents an exciting development for Nottingham Forest, and we look forward to its introduction next season.”

The safe standing announcement comes amid ongoing intrigue concerning Forest’s long-term stadium ambitions. Nottinghamshire County Council last month backed a motion to continue to explore potential stadium options with Forest, with a Memorandum of Understanding expected to be agreed with the club.

It was earlier revealed that the County Council was set to discuss a potential alternative site for a stadium amid a dispute between the club and Nottingham City Council over its future at the historic City Ground.

Last month’s meeting confirmed that Forest has “shown an interest” in developing on land away from the City Ground, with the County Council employing specialist agents to advise on the matter. The Independent Alliance opposition group has suggested land near Toton as an alternative site for a potential new stadium. The site had been due to host a rail hub serving the HS2 high-speed railway project, the Nottinghamshire part of which has been axed.

Forest in February warned that it could look to relocate from the City Ground amid the dispute which concerns the lease deal for the stadium. Forest has long-held plans to redevelop what has been its home since 1898, but has been frustrated in recent years by bureaucratic red tape. The club is currently operating under a 50-year contract struck in 2011 for the prime real estate on the banks of the River Trent.