Don Foster MP

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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.”

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