Arsenal will continue to explore their options when it comes to implementing ‘safe standing’ at Emirates Stadium but following the results of a recent supporter survey on the subject, the club have underlined that the process is complicated and likely to be expensive.
More than 16,000 match-going fans completed a questionnaire earlier in the summer and the headline numbers reveal that 70% are in favour of licensed standing being introduced.
The head-scratcher for the club is that only 40% actually want a seat in a safe standing area.
As a result one of the biggest issues is coming up with a process for re-locating season ticket holders in the lower tier who don’t want to be in a safe standing area.
It’s going to be a touchy subject.
Not only are small pockets of friendly supporters likely to be broken up, there’s also the issue of finding them a new place to sit in the stadium, presumably in the upper tier. You’ve also got to factor in what price people pay if they move from a lower bracket seat to a higher bracket seat because of a diktat from above. If you let them continue paying their existing rates, for how long? And is that fair on others in seats of a similar calibre?
Like we said, it’s complicated.
Arsenal have also explained that they don’t want / won’t be allowed any movement between seated and standing areas and that they are investigating the impact of physical barriers inside the stadium concourse and within view of the pitch.
At the moment, the club can, to a certain extent, plead ignorance when people enter the stadium in one section and immediately head to Block D where they congregate with others who choose to stand (illegally) throughout matches.
If things are licensed, they’re presumably going to get a ticking off if the flow of people isn’t marshalled properly. Standing will only be for those with safe standing tickets.
Arsenal have also reiterated that safe standing will not increase the capacity at Emirates Stadium and may well do the opposite. They also draw attention to the significant costs involved.
Today’s update came within minutes of the UK Government confirming that licensed standing will now be permitted after a successful trial at five early adopter grounds – Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Sp*rs – between 1 January and 1 June 2022.