Archive → January, 2012
Last month the Scottish Premier League relaxed the rules on standing and has allowed for safe standing areas to be reintroduced. Currently Rangers, Celtic, Kilmarnock and Motherwell are all currently exploring the option of installing safe standing areas in their stadiums. The key difference between English clubs and Scottish clubs is the Scottish clubs are not bound by the Taylor Report and English laws so they have one less problem to over. The Premier League has said in the past it doesn’t want to introduce safe standing back into the Premier League but now certain English clubs are exploring the idea. Aston Villa is one club to have plans in place and is seeking support at the next Premier League meeting from other clubs. Arsenal and City have also been rumoured to be interested in safe standing areas. The type of standing that would in place would be very different from the standing areas you see at many lower league clubs or the type we saw in the past decades before standing was banned. If reintroduced Scottish and English clubs would follow the Germany system of fold up seats and bars where a stand can be converted to either safe standing or seated if required under UEFA regulations.
Villa is one of many clubs where standing takes place for long periods of time even though it is banned. The same can be said for most other clubs. The Kop at Anfield, K Stand and the Stretford End at Old Trafford are all areas where no one will sit down for 90 minutes. Manchester United have been warned in the past by the local council for persistent standing but it still carries on. Much of it is over looked. Even at away games clubs like Liverpool have admitted persistent standing isn’t a problem, so a question needs to be asked. Is the current law 15 years out of date? It would seem so as much has happened. Hooligans aren’t anywhere near a big a issue as they were 20 or 30 years ago. Football is safer, new technology and techniques have been developed. Its also been proven standing in seated at Premier League stadiums isn’t dangerous. It happens at every away game up and down the country every Saturday and Sunday. When was the last time there was an issue because fans were standing? The Germans have also developed a very successful and safe standing system. I believe its time for the Government, FA and Premier League to allow Villa to install a safe standing system as in Germany which can be monitored. It will prove ‘standing’ wasn’t the issue. It was everything around it and everyone knows it. Everything has to be managed if it isn’t, problems will occur.
Another problem with the current Premier League system is the ticket price and everything that goes with football. Its about money and many clubs have lost a certain type of supporter over the past 10 years to do the huge increases in price of a football ticket. If you’re a fan of Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal etc ticket prices are normally £35 to 50 or maybe more. At Bolton, Blackburn and City it’s more like £25-35. Standing tickets would not only bring the price down, they’d increase the attendances, capacity and the type of people attending football matches. Those priced out could now afford to attend games. For clubs like Bolton and Blackburn, safe standing areas could improve the atmosphere and bring back a community feel to being a fan. It should in theory improve the atmosphere at any ground it was introduced. I’ve not really heard any argument against it and there is a lot of support, its time the law was changed but changed with regulations on how standing is managed. Managing the system and the type of system is the key to success.
The email and text below has been sent out to supporters in W15 by the Club. Ground regulations say that certain searches can take place but I and others are not sure what legal basic security have to carry out these checks in the style of airport style searches including emptying your pockets into a plastic sealed bag. Its normally nothing more than a pat down and a bag search. Both which you have to consent to.
So far no one has provided me with the evidence that private security staff have the legal right to do this. I’ve also received one reply saying this type of search is completely illegal and even the Police would struggle to give a vaild reason if they carried it out. If this was to be carried out by the Police they have to provide a reason, under what law its being carried out under, they have to fill in a form to say it took place along with providing their name and Police station they work out of. This is the type of thing the Police conducted London that has sparked off some of the riots last year. Certain types of searches have been ruled illegal by the European Court of Human Rights with the government and Met facing pressure almost everyday. Its a sensitive subject which should not be forced on supporters. I don’t believe if you did refuse to enter your pockets after a pat down they could refuse you entry. You’ve done wants reasonably required and they’ve asked what they can legally search and can do. Paying supporters should not be treated as guinea pigs so some suits in the Olympic Committee can watch from the side lines for their own satisfaction. Fight it today, tell them to fuck off and test it somewhere else.
In preparation for the Olympic Games, search tests will be trialled at entrance W15 at the Bolton game.
On your arrival at the turnstiles all supporters will be issued with a clear plastic bag into which all pocket contents must be emptied.
Any supporters with bags will be directed to a table where they will be searched and sealed.
All supporters will then be subject to a full search before entering the stadium.
We advise you arrive early tomorrow to avoid queues.
Thank you in advance for your co-operation.
Ticketing & Membership Services”