Manchester City has announced that more than 5,500 rail seats will be built at the Etihad Stadium. The seats, which are built to lock into a folded position and encourage fans to stand, are expected to be placed in the lower tier of the South Stand this summer, according to the club.
Standing is prohibited at grounds in England’s top two divisions, but teams have trained for what they believe would be a green light for healthy standing, with Wolverhampton Wanderers adding rail seating at Molineux.
Manchester United, which has long had issues with supporters refusing to sit down, is in the process of erecting 1,500 seats at Old Trafford, and Tottenham has seats that can be changed to standing.
The city said the decision to add 5,620 rail seats was based on rigorous analysis and would “enhance protection in an environment where constant standing exists.”
“While we will continue to remind fans to stay seated during matches, we are also delighted to tell them that the construction of a rail seating area ensures the Etihad Stadium will be ready… should the government put in legislation to introduce safe standing in the Premier League,” said City’s managing director of operations, Danny Wilson.
Standing was made illegal in the top two tiers after the Hillsborough stadium tragedy in 1989, which killed 96 Liverpool supporters.
According to the city, there is no suggestion as to when a change in the law can occur. Last year, an interim study by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority showed that safe standing has a good effect on crowd safety around English football.