Premier League trial announcement brings safe standing one step closer for Stadium of Light
By Stephen O'Brien
Liberal Democrat councillors in Sunderland have welcomed the announcement of trails of safe standing in Championship and Premier League clubs as a vial step towards seeing safe standing at the Stadium of Light.
Premier League and Championship clubs will be able to apply to trail safe standing in stadiums from1st January 2022.
Whilst League One clubs can already introduce safe standing in their grounds, clubs like Sunderland AFC have been reluctant to do so as under current rules standing areas would have to be removed if they were promoted to the Championship.
Commenting, safe standing campaigner and Lib Dem Sunderland city councillor Stephen O'Brien said:"Safe standing would see greater choice, a better atmosphere and cheaper tickets for Sunderland fans at the Stadium of Light.
"Crucially it wouldn't be a return to the terraces of the 1980s - rail seating has proper stewarding and safety mechanisms in place to protect fans and would be much better than the current situation where people stand up anyway in seated areas that aren't properly designed for it.
"At the moment the big hurdle to SAFC or any other club in League 1 introducing safe standing is what happens if we get promoted back to the Championship next season and the safe standing area has to be closed due to the current Government ban.
"Clubs that have listened to fans and introduced safe standing should not be penalised if they get promoted.
"That's why the Liberal Democrats welcome this pilot scheme for Premier League and Championship clubs and is why we want to move the goalposts on safe standing and see the law changed to allow it permanently in the Championship and Premiership."