Safe posture had ‘positive impact’ on ventilator safety – report

The report says next steps will include assessing levels of demand for safe standing areas among fans.

Keeping safe on the pitch has had “a positive impact on spectator safety” and improved the matchday experience, according to a report.

Five Premier League and Championship clubs have taken part in a government-commissioned pilot study since January.

Rails in the seating areas of the pitch allowed fans to stand while their safety was independently assessed.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston called the results “very encouraging for fans, clubs and safety groups”.

Huddleston said he “will reserve final judgment on a wider rollout until the process is complete.”

The CFE Research interim report, commissioned by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), found that barriers and rails installed in front of seats made goal celebrations more orderly and overcrowding easier to spot.

He also found that entering and exiting rows and aisles was safer due to the “stability” provided by the barriers, and there was less conflict between stewards and supporters, as staff no longer needed to encourage fans to sit down.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Cardiff City are the five clubs participating in the “early adopters” program set up by the SGSA.

On January 2, Stamford Bridge became the first high-flying pitch to allow a standing license in nearly 30 years when Chelsea and Liverpool met in a 2-2 draw.

Designated standing areas had not been seen on Premier League grounds since the adoption of all-seater stadiums in the early 1990s – a recommendation of the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, when 97 fans died in a crash.

Spectators at many grounds continued to stand in seated areas, most often behind goals, despite regular warnings from local authorities and police that it was dangerous.

The trial phase will continue until the end of the season and a final report will be delivered to the Ministry of Culture, Media and Sport.

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