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Madejski standing one step closer to reality
Published 24/02/14

THE Royals have given their backing to a plan for the introduction of safe-standing areas at Championship grounds.

They were among 72 clubs to vote on the move at a Football League meeting called to gather the views across the three divisions.

All-seater stadiums have been compulsory in the Championship and Premier League since the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool supporters.

But safe-standing areas, featuring retractable seats, have been installed in Germany and there are growing calls for English football authorities to follow suit.

A Reading FC spokesman said, “This is just the beginning of the process, but in the first instance credit must go to the Football League for picking up the mantle on behalf of the clubs.

“We are fully behind the the process, and it goes without saying that the first consideration must be crowd safety.

“The phrase ‘safe standing’ is often used off the cuff, and the key is for there to be evidence that it truly is safe and viable in a UK stadium.

“If the process is successful and the evidence is clear, this could be a step forward for the club and our fans.

“There is a long way to go so everybody here remains patient but hopeful, because as much as possible we are here to give our fans the experience they want. Obviously safe standing is part of that.”

But the club says it is still too early to talk about the location of any standing areas at the Madejski.

“There are many factors involved - safety, cost, number of turnstiles, size of concourse, financial viability and much more - that will all be looked at if and when the consultation is successful,” the spokesman added.

Football Supporters’ Federation National Council member and Royals supporter Jon Keen said, “I’m delighted that Reading, like so many other Football League clubs, has voted to support the concept of safe standing.

“Everyone appreciates a lot would need to happen before we see safe standing but it’s great that Reading have responded.”

Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “The consultation has given us a better understanding of the views held by clubs on this issue and we will take our cue from the prevailing opinion.”

Published 24/02/14

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