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Premier League safe standing bid rejected

Filed: Monday, 9th April 2018
By: Staff Writer

An application by West Bromwich Albion to install 3,600 rail seats at The Hawthorns has been rejected by the Government.

The return of safe standing has been keenly sought by football supporters for a number of years since all-seater stadiums were introduced as a result of the Taylor Report in 1990, which was largely based upon a pack of half-truths and false police statements following the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough.

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With Celtic having successfully pioneered a similar standing scheme north of the border, and Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim doing similar in Germany, hopes were high that English football fans would also be able to stand once again whilst watching the game.

However the chances of that happening once again in the near future looks bleak after Sports Minister Tracey Crouch rejected Albion's proposal - referred to by one journalist as "meticulous" - to install seats at The Hawthorns' Smethwick End.

"I think the minister has taken a short-sighted view and is preventing the club from creating a safer environment for supporters," said Albion's director of operations Mark Miles in response to the news.

"The all-seater policy was developed over 25 years ago and football is a very different place now. The system we proposed is well tested across Europe and has also worked successfully at Celtic.

Albion's Mark Miles

"We were prepared to run a pilot which would enable the club to gather data and feedback to further inform us in the issue of crowd safety. I have become convinced that rail seating would enhance safety.

"The club is extremely disappointed with this decision and we have written back requesting a review."

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