Today’s Safe Standing Debate
In the past few weeks the campaign to have the choice of Safe Standing has given fresh impetus and focus, after it was publicly dismissed by the current Sports Minister Tracey Crouch. It sparked the signing of a petition that was originally set up by a 16-year-old Ipswich fan that called for the House of Commons to discuss the matter properly.
After over 100,000 people signed the petition, a date of 25th June was granted for such a discussion in parliament. MOMS along with 40 other supporter representatives from other clubs attended a precursor discussion in parliament earlier this month and the next day the Labour party officially announced their support for Safe Standing, saying the choice should be devolved to clubs and supporters to make the decision for their own stadium.
You can watch the debate below:
Parliament Debate Video June 25th 4.30pm
Several seasons ago, when Aston Villa were in the Premier League, they were the first Premier League club to publicly back safe standing.
Back in 2014, Anne-Marie Fern led the Aston Villa Supporter’s Trust survey of over 1000 match-going Villa supporters across a wide demographic and 97% in favour of safe standing, with it holing at 95% across all demographics.
MOMS has run several surveys on the issue since, getting the opinion of thousands more Villa fans and the results have always been over 94% in favour of having the choice of Safe Standing.
The club re-affirmed its support for safe standing last month and helped share the House of Commons petition, along with many other clubs.
On top of political, supporter and club support, the EFL have also openly supported the common sense choice of safe standing.
They recently ran the biggest survey on the issue with over 33,000 supporters providing their views over a two-week period.
94% of Championship supporters and 92% of League One and League Two supporters were all in support.
The EFL, along with the Football Supporters Federation, launched the joint initiative of the ‘Standing for Choice’ Campaign to further demonstrate the unity of the football community on the issue.
How Would it be Implemented at Villa Park?
MOMS was actually in parliament way back in 2012 with a representative from the club for a discussion on safe standing. It’s been a long process since, and Villa’s plans have changed in terms of how they would implement it.
Originally, the plan had been to trial a safe standing section in the L9 cheese shaped corner of where the Holte End meets the Trinity.
They were essentially waiting for a green light to trial it…which never came.
Since, Villa owner had suggested there would be the potential to add two safe standing areas.
“I pretty much agree we can insert some safe standing. We might add two standing areas in-between a seating area. That would be interesting,” said Tony Xia, in Daily Telegraph interview in 2016.
So in the short-term you’re looking at in the region of 2000 standing spaces at Villa Park.
Once, when full, the Holte End would have a capacity of 19,200 Villans standing on its single terrace, once the biggest in Europe.
While there will never be a return to that grand sight, hopefully all stadiums will be able to have up to 10% of the ground as standing areas, similar to the successful section that Celtic currently has, which MOMS saw in all its glory when visiting it in its first competitive match usage two years ago.
Standing is safe, that’s not even an issue. Standing in a standing section is also much safer than standing in seated areas, which is currently widespread at grounds.
Part of the decision to have the choice of standing is to make watching football convenient for every supporter. Those who want to sit, will be able to do so without having to constantly get up to stand during a game, due to others in front of them doing so.
The only decision here for the government to now make is a common sense one.