Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Following our pioneering trial of a small section of rail seating at Ashton Gate the subject of safe standing has been firmly put on the Football League’s agenda. At a meeting earlier this year most of the Football League’s 72 clubs voted for safe standing areas to be introduced.
Right from the outset in our plans to rebuild Ashton Gate we have tried to find a way to bring safe standing to the stadium. Since we helped drive that agenda in the second half of 2013 and into 2014, we have followed with great interest the recent discussions on the subject.
In August, the Liberal Democrats called for a change in the law to allow Premier League and Championship clubs to introduce safe standing. Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey stated: “The first logical step would be for safe standing products, such as rail seating, to be licensed for use by the relevant authorities. This would enable one of the 21 Football League clubs that is not currently required by law to have an all-seater stadium to install a pilot scheme at its ground.”
Martin Griffiths, chairman of Bristol Sport, said: “While we understand that this is the next logical step in the campaign, it is clear Ashton Gate does not comply with the above criteria to be one of the “tester stadia”. There is nothing that we can do about that. We are required to comply with the current law to provide an all-seater stadium.
“It is frustrating, but does not mean we are giving up on safe standing coming to the stadium. It does mean, however, that we will be unable to install rail seating right from the first opening of the redeveloped stadium as we need to start placing orders for all the components of both the new South and Dolman stands very shortly. We have designed these areas to facilitate a retrofit of rail seating if and when the law changes. So for now, we need to keep the stadium build programme on time, while allowing for a retrofit once we get the green light from the relevant authorities.”
Bristol Sport would like to thank in particular the Bristol City Supporters Club & Trust and Bristol Rugby Supporters who have worked closely with us on this and their expertise