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To Sit or Stand?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 29/11/2006

SAFE standing at football grounds is back on the agenda again with an Early Day Motion being supported by MP's in the House of Commons.

The number of MP's who are supporting the Early Day Motion "Standing Areas At Football Grounds" has more than quadrupled in the last few days.

There are now 25 MPs from four political parties on board: Labour, Liberal Democrat, Conservative and Plaid Cymru, in support of the EDM.

The Early Day Motion is a great chance to raise this important matter with the people who matter - MP's. Whilst an EDM won't change the law, the Football Supporters Federation and Stand Up Sit Down both support the move and see it as a way to build a momentum behind this issue.

So one way you can help is to contact your MP and ask them to support the motion. Please write to your MP NOW.

You can find out who your MP is and send and email to them by going to - HERE

You can view the Early Day Motion by going to HERE

In your email to your MP, you might like to say that we are asking for a choice to stand or sit at games in appropriate safe stands. Standing in itself is not unsafe and the practices of other countries in Europe, especially Germany prove this. All seater-stadia have priced fans out of watching the game - a partial return to safe terracing would give many more supporters an opportunity to watch football.

The issue of terracing affects every League club in the country, regardless of which division they are currently in. When building a new stadium, lower league clubs are now very reluctant to include terracing just in case they ever gain promotion and are forced by current legislation to convert to an all-seater stadium.

You can view a report into safe standing in Germany HERE

You can read an article on safe standing in the Guardian HERE

Lobbying your MP really does work - one of the MP's near to Burnley changed his mind on the issue of safe standing when presented with a number of emails from Clarets fans asking him to support this EDM.

Why This Campaign Is Necessary

To varying degrees, there are difficulties at most clubs because some supporters have a very strong desire to stand, and may block the views of those who prefer to sit.

Until recent years spectators had a choice as to whether they sit or stand. Football is a passionate game, and many supporters prefer to stand, as they feel more involved, and it is more conducive to creating the unique atmosphere of British football.

The authorities seek to prevent persistent standing, but increasing sanctions such as ejections, bans, capacity and ticket reductions, will affect all supporters, could lead to disorder, and will have an increasing financial impact on clubs. However despite these efforts, thousands of fans continue to stand every week. The time spent on this issue by the safety authorities is out of all proportion to the risks involved, and a resolution would allow them to concentrate resources on other more pressing issues.

The Government appears unwilling to listen to reasoned argument, and although there is a very good case for the re-introduction of safe terraced areas, it appears unlikely that this will be permitted in the foreseeable future. A compromise solution based on common sense appears to be the best way forward for all concerned.

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