On Monday the Scottish Premier League (SPL) board altered the League’s rules to grant the ability to approve requests from clubs to pilot safe standing areas for use in SPL matches. SPL rules currently state that teams must only use seated areas with a minimum of 6,000 seats per stadium.
“Since I joined the SPL in 2009, there has been widespread support amongst fans to reintroduce safe standing areas,” said Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPL. “I am delighted that we have been able to respond positively to supporters’ views on improving the match day experience.”
The change poses a difficult question to the Premier League bosses: How come they can stand up during games in Germany and now even Scotland but not in England?
Well, Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing terraces in the top two leagues of English football following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 but the English Premier League response to the suggestion that it should also strive for safe standing areas in the football is a a great shame.
“The bottom line is that it (standing at matches) is illegal under the legislation that was brought in after Hillsborough,” said Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson to MirrorFootball.co.uk. “We can’t have standing in the Premier League and the Championship and it’s not a situation we would like to see change.”
Well, first of all, the fact that standing is illegal doesn’t make it a reasonable prohibition.
Stadiums safety standards around Europe have raised incredibly since the 1990′s so the authorities can’t argue anymore that it’s not safe. So, why isn’t that a situation they would like to change?
Is it because of the fear that it will lead to tickets’ price reductions.
Standing areas are mostly for young men and teenagers who can hardly afford tickets for today’s Premier League matches. As can be seen in Germany, safe standing makes the tickets cheaper and the atmosphere in the stadiums a lot better.
By not even discussing standing areas in stadia, the Premier League is saying: “We don’t want cheap ticket prices and great atmosphere in our football grounds”. That’s just plain stupid. And it will hurt the Premier League in the long term.