This is Sunderland AFC's current stance on introducing safe standing at the Stadium of Light
Sunderland are monitoring the introduction of safe standing at grounds across the UK before making their own decision regarding the Stadium of Light.
After a trial period last season clubs can now apply to have a licensed standing area installed at their grounds, providing they meet strict criteria.
Under licensed standing, fans are allowed to stand for matches in allocated spaces behind a barrier or a rail in areas of persistent standing. Each supporter has to occupy the same area they would take if they were seated with a ticket.
QPR and Cardiff City are currently the only Championship clubs to offer safe standing, and at the recent structured dialogue meeting between Sunderland AFC and the supporter collective, Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison was asked about the club's stance.
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Davison said that the costs of making the transition would be significant and the club would wait for further information. He also raised a reservation about the possibility of fans in seated areas of the ground being encouraged to stand, but voiced his support in principle.
The minutes from the meeting, at which Davison fielded questions from a number of fans, read: "DR asked SD to confirm that the club are behind the introduction of safe standing and would be committed to it in the future. SD said the club were under increased pressure from SGSA [Sports Grounds Safety Authority] and the SAG [Safety Advisory Group] on this. It was discussed at a recent EFL meeting. SD said grounds originally designed to incorporate rail seating were more positive about rail standing than stadiums originally designed to be all-seater. Bob Eastwood, the EFL’s Head of Safety, is doing a review of findings from early adopters, which the club will be interested in seeing.
"SD raised a concern that introducing rail seating may encourage others in seated areas to stand. PS disagreed, believing it strengthens the case for enforcing seating as fans will have the option to stand.
"SD is supportive of safe standing if there is a positive cost benefit analysis. It will cost up to £1 million to convert an area of the stadium to rail seating, so the club will not be rushing into it and will wait to see what the benefits will be.
"MCo is concerned that if persistent standing in a seated area is not addressed, it will lead to sanctions. SD is focusing on preventing the migration to the Roker End. If migration is addressed, PS believes many of the other problems will be resolved."
At the meeting the club also said that the Premier Concourse will be open this season when ticket sales warrant, as was the case for the opening-day visit of Coventry City.
The Premier Concourse could open permanently next season depending on season card sales, while the club's commitment to give former season card holders in the concourse the chance to return remains in place.
Sunderland have sold over 30,000 season cards for this season, with the overall attendance last Sunday 40,851.