Man Utd given green light to make Old Trafford change with safe standing section
Man Utd have been given the green light by the local council to trial safe standing seats at Old Trafford.
Standing at football grounds has been outlawed since the 1994-95 campaign off the back of the Taylor Report, which published recommendations on stadium safety in light of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Campaigns in recent years for the introduction of safe standing facilities at stadiums has gained traction though, with the Premier League and FA now open to assisting any clubs who are given backing by their local authorities.
Wolves and Tottenham have already installed rail seating, with United set to be the next top-flight club to follow suit.
United lodged a formal proposal with the local Safety Advisory Group in December to request a trial, following changes to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) Green Guide.
Trafford Council has now approved plans for 1,500 seats in J-Stand, with United intending to have barrier seating in place for next season – and would look at potentially installing it in other areas of Old Trafford if successful.
Managing director Richard Arnold said: "It should be stated, up front, that our overwhelming priority is to keep our people safe from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.
"This announcement is the latest step in what has been a long journey with our fans.
"We have listened to their feedback, in particular, the representations made by MUST [ Manchester United Supporters' Trust], and worked with Trafford Council to develop and approve this proposal.
"Our belief is that the introduction of barrier seats will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing.
"It also allows us to future-proof the stadium in the event of any changes to the current all-seater stadium policy.
"If the trial is successful, we may consider further implementation of barrier seating in other parts of the stadium.
"We will now move on to develop the installation, compliance and licensing plan for the trial, with a view to having the new seats installed for when we can welcome our supporters back to Old Trafford."
The Manchester United Supporters' Trust welcomed the development.
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