Tottenham’s new stadium has been 'future-proofed' for safe standing
26 June 2018
Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium has been “future-proofed” for safe standing in the event of a change in legislation for clubs in the Premier League and Championship.
Tottenham have unveiled their own design for potential safe standing areas in the single-tier South Stand and the away supporters’ area at its new 62,000-seater stadium, which is set to open later this year.
The club’s announcement came hours before MPs debated the issue in Parliament after a petition calling for the introduction of safe standing gained more than 112,000 signatures.
Standing has been outlawed in the top two divisions of English football since 96 Liverpool fans were killed in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Tottenham said its fans had shown “overwhelming support” for safe standing, with many of them citing an improved atmosphere in the stadium as their main reason for wanting the change in legislation.
“At our new stadium, we have designed a section within the home area and within the away section that has an integrated safety bar with the normal seating,” said Donna-Maria Cullen, Tottenham’s executive director.
“Fans have bought season tickets for the home area in the knowledge that, should the law change, this would be our standing area - it was one of the first areas to sell out.”
The club has said that its design for the safe standing areas is different to the ‘rail seating’ concept which is used in Germany and by Celtic.
Tottenham’s design will use the same moulded seats as in the rest of the stadium and will include a purpose-designed lock which will allow the seat to be stowed.
“Our design ensures that, regardless of the law changing, only one fan per seat will be permitted within the future-proofed areas,” said Jon Babbs, the stadium director.
“This, along with the enhanced clearways and integrated bar, provides improved safety should fans stand during games.”
Shrewsbury Town, who play in League One, will install more than 500 rail seats this summer and Stephen Morgan, MP for Portsmouth South, questioned why standing areas are allowed for grounds in the lower leagues but not in the top two divisions.
“This is not about bringing safe standing into our football grounds because it is already there,” he said. “When Portsmouth travel to Bristol Rovers, Peterborough, Wycombe, they see stadiums operating fully licensed safe standing sections.
“I must admit I am puzzled as to why the government thinks standing becomes safer as the quality of football becomes worse.”
The issue has been further complicated because ongoing legal matters have prevented many of the Hillsborough families from taking part in the debate.
Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood, said yesterday that the Hillsborough Family Support Group was against safe standing by a “huge majority”.