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Law will change on safe standing, predicts Shrewsbury Town boss

By Aimee Jones | Shrewsbury | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published:

The Government is set to open talks about safe-standing at Premier League and Championship football matches.

Shrewsbury Town chief executive Brian Caldwell tries out the safe standing at the ground

And Brian Caldwell, chief executive of Shrewsbury Town, believes ministers will be keeping a close eye on the situation at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

The club recently became the first in England and Wales to introduce the safe-standing scheme.

Last month more than 500 new seats were installed at one end of the stadium in Oteley Road, which allows a switch to a standing experience.

The Government has now commissioned a fundamental review into the issue of standing at matches in the top two leagues.

Mr Caldwell hopes the review will lead to safe standing being introduced at stadiums all across the country.

He said: "I do believe that in time, safe standing will roll out into other clubs.

"I think the government will continue to review the situation until the right decision is made, and I think they will be watching our situation very closely."

The law on all-seater stadiums was brought in 25 years ago following the Taylor report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

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But, after more than 100,000 people signed a petition which called for Premier League and Championship clubs to allow safe-standing, the issue will be discussed in Parliament.

Sports minister Tracey Crouch is understood to be keen to discuss safety at stadiums and the impact of improved technologies and stadium design.

Mr Caldwell added: "The issue I have got is that at some clubs, there are people who want to stand up so are currently just standing on the seats, and that just isn't safe. What we are providing at Shrewsbury is a choice.

"The law will change in time because there is definitely a demand from the supporters.

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"What we have got is safe. It's not like the old crush barriers and terraces. Every club should be able to provide a safe place for people to stand if they wish."

The idea was brought to Mr Caldwell by members of the Shrewsbury Town Supporters' Parliament and very quickly, £65,000 was raised to make the idea a reality.

The rail seats have been made by local company Ferco Seating and will be ready to use for Salop's first game of the 2018/19 season.

In Scotland, Celtic have had a successful trial of a safe-standing area with a capacity of 2,600 over the past two seasons, while the use of ‘rail seats’ has proved a success in the German Bundesliga.

West Bromwich Albion proposed a pilot scheme that would have meant 3,600 seats at The Hawthorns were converted to 'rail seats', which can be locked in an upright position.

However, the plans were rejected by the government.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

News reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering North Shropshire, including Ellesmere, Whitchurch and Wem.

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