These are the Stadium of Light changes Sunderland and QPR fans need to be aware of

Sunderland AFC are to introduce several changes to the matchday experience at the Stadium of Light in the Roker End and also the North Stand.

From this weekend away supporters in the North Stand will be subject to ‘enhanced searches and checks’ following concerns at the first home game of the season when Coventry City visited.

Several incidents at that game were reported by fans of both clubs after objects were allegedly thrown towards home supporters located in the North Stand.

The Roker End at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

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A club statement read: “Commencing from Saturday’s fixture versus Queens Park Rangers, away supporters will be subject to enhanced searches and checks upon entering the Stadium of Light.

“Additional training has also been undertaken with stewards located in the North Stand following the club’s opening game of the season, and supporters located in the North Stand lower are advised that an increased stewarding capacity in the North Stand upper will be in place from this weekend.

“The safety of all fans at the Stadium of Light remains an absolute priority and the club continues to explore a range of further measures, with further operational changes subject to regulatory approval.”

Meanwhile, the club has also revealed changes to the Roker End of the ground following concerns of ‘overcrowding, persistent standing and anti-social behaviour’ among home fans.

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The club has now moved to address concerns raised around the issue.

A club statement added: “Throughout the 2021-22 season, a significant number of fans migrated into the Roker End from other areas of the stadium and this regularly led to issues of overcrowding, persistent standing and anti-social behaviour.

“This was highlighted by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) on two occasions and the SGSA has now formally written to the Club to state that this has been classed a top priority and action must be taken to address the concerns outlined above.

Supporters impacted by the migration of other fans have also contacted the club and as a result, a consultation period has taken place between SAFC’s Safety Department and Supporters’ Groups.

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“It is agreed that a long-term plan is the best approach to achieve lasting solutions, but some new measures are set to be introduced immediately ahead of this weekend’s fixture versus QPR.

“This includes securing the Roker End and its related turnstiles, concourses and walkways, which will now only be accessible to fans with a season card or ticket in the Roker End.

“Following the initial phase of activity outlined above, the second phase will include a collaborative process to evaluate the best options for addressing the SGSA’s ongoings concerns, including the possibility of introducing ‘safe standing’.

“SAFC remains wholly committed to ensuring the Stadium of Light provides a safe and enjoyable environment for all supporters and asks fans to support the club in the delivery of the new measures this weekend.”

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