Don Foster MP

Don Foster MP - 102/268 - Bath's #1 Supporter

Payne phone-hacking marks another new low – Foster

July 29, 2023 by admin in News

Commenting on the news that the mother of murder victim Sarah Payne may have had her phone hacked, Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Culture, Media and Sport Parliamentary Party Committee, Don Foster said:

“This is devastating for Sara Payne who described some people at the News of the World as her ‘trusted friends’.

“Rebekah Brooks warned of more to come, but this marks an unimaginable new low.

“BSkyB’s board must now reconsider their unanimous support for James Murdoch, and those complicit in these terrible actions must be brought to justice.”

Don Foster: Modern options allow for standing to be safe again

July 28, 2023 by admin in News

It has been 20 years since Lord Justice Taylor recommended that standing be abolished at matches in the top two leagues. There were plenty of good reasons: there had been a run of disastrous incidents at football matches, of which the tragedy at Hillsborough, where almost 100 died and many more were injured, was the worst.

Clearly, a complete culture shift was long overdue, and seats came with all kinds of benefits. Like rows of barriers, they would prevent surges in the crowd. By giving each spectator their own little space, seats were more comfortable and stopped jostling. They made it easier for organisers to control numbers, easier to identify troublemakers.

But introducing seats was not meant to deal with the key reason for the tragedy at Hillsborough. For Taylor, the disaster was mainly down to sheer overcrowding, underpinned by a general culture of neglect. It didn’t happen because spectators were on their feet.

I am not calling for a re-introduction of the old-style terraces. But today there are options for safe forms of standing which provide the same benefits which Taylor said came from seating. Modern safe standing means each spectator gets their own spot (and often a flip-down seat so stadiums can be used for international and European games). Modern standing areas have barriers between rows to prevent surges. Such areas have been in use in Germany for many years and are popular and successful. There have been no problems at Bundesliga matches; just a legendarily energetic atmosphere.

Taylor expected football fans would get used to sitting. But the thousands still standing every weekend, and the long-running campaigns to reverse the ban, prove that he got this wrong.

His report was a call for clubs to take more care of their fans, and for the match-day experience to become safer as a result. After the dark day at Hillsborough, the Taylor report was a critical step forward for the game. It is now time for football and its regulators to take another step forward by listening to fans, looking at the modern options available, and letting football lovers enjoy games on their feet.

Lib Dems call for return to 'safe' standing on terraces

July 28, 2023 by admin in News

As Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg prepare for tonight’s second televised election debate, the Liberal Democrats are again presenting themselves as agents of change, this time in the sporting arena, by announcing their desire for the return of “safe standing” at football grounds.

In an interview with The Independent today, Don Foster, spokesman for culture, media and sport, commits to investigating whether the insistence on all-seater stadiums in the top two English football divisions could safely be brought to an end.

The issue is extremely popular with many fans who see it as a way to combat escalating ticket prices and resurrect the atmosphere stands enjoyed before 1994, when all-seater stadiums became compulsory. The call will be controversial with other fans groups, however, who maintain that in the light of the Hillsborough disaster - the 21st anniversary of which was marked last week - a return to standing should be opposed on safety grounds.

Foster states: “The Liberal Democrats are committed to exploring options for introducing safe standing at football grounds in consultation with fans, clubs and safety experts and have passed a motion at our party conference to this effect. The evidence from countries like Germany shows that safe standing can operate effectively and safely to give fans more choice about how they enjoy the game.”

The Liberal Democrats tabled a conference motion on safe standing in 2008, when Foster said: “This is a sensitive issue. But we cannot ignore the large numbers of fans who want to stand.”

You can read the full article here