Chelsea among four Premier League clubs approved for ‘safe standing’ trial
According to Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston (h/t The Sun), four Premier League clubs will take part in a safe standing trial from 1 January 2022. The first match will be between Chelsea and Liverpool on January 2 at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United are the top-tier sides taking part in the pilot run in January. The trial marks the end of a blanket ban on standing in the top two tiers of English football, which has been in place for more than 25 years.
Another football team that has been given a nod to take part in the pilot is the Championship side, Cardiff City.
Just how it will be received and whether it will be rolled out on a larger scale remains to be seen. Talking about the trial Huddleston believes the time was ripe for the change.
“The time is now right to properly trial safe standing in the Premier League and EFL Championship ahead of a decision on a widespread roll-out.”
He goes on to add that while it may in a way be a throwback to the days of old, safety remains a prime priority. The SGSA and the clubs will be working hand in glove and success will hand other clubs the chance to apply for the same next season.
“Safety is absolutely paramount and the SGSA is working hand-in-glove with the clubs on this.”
Standing areas in the Premier League and Championship were banned by legislation passed in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans.
Meanwhile, New Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a Liverpool fan has given the seal of authority to this move as well. With Liverpool also involved in the first trial game, it remains to be seen how fans receive it.
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According to The Guardian, The Reds did not apply to take part in the pilot, because they are already running their own trial with two areas of rail seating at Anfield.
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