CALLS have again been made for standing to be reintroduced at football matches in the North East.
Signatures are being gathered to a petition launched by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), as they look for support to get terraces reintroduced in the top two divisions of English football.
A Safe Standing roadshow supported by the FSF has been touring the country with examples of standing areas which they say could be used at grounds.
Director of communications for the FSF Michael Brunskill said: “In British football the vast majority of supporters want to stand and around nine out of 10 fans want to bring back standing areas.
“If you look around stadia in the Premier League now a lot of supporters tend to ignore the current legislation and many of them stand during games in areas that are not designed to cope with this.”
The FSF are now hoping the authorities will allow standing areas to be brought back into the game in England.
“With the new safe standing seating fans will be able to stand safely throughout a game,” added Mr Brunskill.
As part of a demonstration show in Gateshead, the FSF showed interested fans how safe standing would benefit grounds in the region.
Sunderland season ticket holder and writer Tom Lynn thinks there is “definitely an appetite for standing” among Sunderland fans.
“I think it should be looked at by English clubs and the FA,” he said.
“There should be a constructive debate on it.
“I think in particular the FA should go on a fact-finding mission to Germany because at Borrusia Dortmund they have one end which is 26,000 people all standing.”
Mr Brunskill added: “In Germany the system runs perfectly fine.
“A big part of the campaign is trying to get people to understand what safe standing is and how things have moved on a lot from the 80s.
“The Taylor report never blamed the Hillsborough disaster on standing but on policing.”
To sign the petition go to www.fsf.org.uk/safestanding.
Sunderland fans who’d like to volunteer and help see the roadshow visit the city can contact the FSF at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0330 44 000 44
RELATIVES of those who died or were injured in the Hillsborough Stadium disaster, in 1989, say they are strongly opposed to any return to standing.
The incident claimed the lives on 96 people who were crushed during an FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.
Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Margaret Aspinall, said: “We definitely don’t want any form of standing whatsoever at football grounds.”