Chelsea v Liverpool: Safe standing used for first time in Premier League

Stamford Bridge has become the first English Premier League stadium to use safe standing, 27 years after standing was banned in the top flight.

Home and away fans used the new safe-standing areas in Sunday’s game between Chelsea and Liverpool.

Chelsea are one of five clubs who were approved to trial safe-standing areas during the second half of this season.

Laws came into force in 1994 stipulating stadiums in England’s top two tiers must be all-seater.

Fulham were given brief dispensation to have standing on Craven Cottage’s old terraces when they were promoted to the Premier League in 2001.

More than 12,000 safe-standing spaces have been created at Stamford Bridge.

The sections, which will be in place for home and away fans at the trial venues, give fans the option to sit or stand, with a seat as well as a barrier running between rows.

Fans were using spaces in the Shed End and the lower tier of the Matthew Harding Stand.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Championship side Cardiff are the other clubs taking part in the trial.

Standing in English football’s top two divisions was outlawed following recommendations made in the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which led to the deaths of 97 Liverpool fans.

The clubs involved must adhere to strict conditions, including enhanced use of CCTV, improved steward training and fans strictly limited to their designated space.

Before the game, Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son and Liverpool fan James was killed in the crush at Hillsborough, said her “opinion has completely changed” on safe standing.

“Those who want to stand should be allowed to stand,” she said.

“Fans are treated completely differently now to what they were in the 1970s and 1980s. They are really monitored. They are more careful. They’ve learned lessons because of Hillsborough.”

Original article published 02.01.2022 on the BBC Sport website

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