Arsenal remain open to introducing safe standing at Emirates Stadium but a full assessment of the practicalities of installing rail seats needs to be undertaken by a third party before any trial takes place.
On Monday, sports minister Nigel Huddleston confirmed that Premier League quartet Chelsea, Sp*rs, Manchester United and Manchester City, and Championship side Cardiff, have all secured a license to host standing fans from 1 January 2022, thereby ending a 25-year blanket ban imposed on English football’s top two divisions.
Terraces were banned following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and all-seater stadia became compulsory in 1994 for all top-flight sides. The enforced changes have been credited for the increased number of women and children attending matches and for a marked drop in hooliganism.
Recent calls for the return of standing have predominantly focused on improving matchday atmospheres and the possibility of introducing a cheaper band of tickets.
While the issue has been on Arsenal’s radar for over a decade – former CEO Ivan Gazidis told The AST in 2011 that “it is something that I have always been open to” – the club clearly haven’t viewed it as a priority or a consultation would already have taken place.
Given the number of people who choose to stand anyway (against the club’s wishes), it’s good to hear that, after considerable pressure from fan groups, proper analysis is now taking place.
An Arsenal spokesperson told the Islington Gazette: “We fully understand the view of some fans regarding safe standing and we have commissioned an external company who have been investigating the possibilities at Emirates Stadium.
“Installing rail seating at Emirates Stadium will be a significant undertaking which needs further analysis and discussion with our supporters.”
Having opened in 2006, our home is starting to look pretty tired in areas and improvements have been earmarked.
Whether rail seats make the list any time soon will likely depend on the cost. The rake of the lower tier has previously been highlighted as a potential sticking point.
Would you be in favour of Arsenal introducing a safe standing area at Emirates Stadium?
— arseblognews (@arseblognews) November 11, 2021