Standing terraces could be set to make a comeback to the football league after one club have been given the go-ahead to trial their plans.
Bristol City Football Club have become the first club in the UK to install “safe standing” rail seats.
The League One club have put the new seats into one of their blocks to allow people to get a taste for the new seating – which will allow both standing and sitting room for fans.
It is planned that within the next couple of years three of the four stands will contain the rail seats.
The Robins are hoping they will spark a comeback for the seating which could then be rolled out across the country.
Current legislation means that football teams playing in the Premier League and Championship must have all-seater grounds.
Rules dictate that all clubs in the football league must also offer all-seater accommodation.
But the club are hoping that their plans will persuade the government to change the laws introduced to improve safety at football matches after the Hillsborough disaster.
Initially, the “safe standing” areas at Ashton Gate would only be used during Bristol Rugby matches as current regulations don’t allow their use for football.
But, following consultation with its clubs, the Football League has agreed to lobby the Government for a change in the rules to permit safe standing areas for football matches.
Should the changes be made clubs across the country could introduce the seating – which was scrapped as a result of the Taylor Report in 1989.
Bristol City FC chief executive, Doug Harman, said: “If we are given the relevant permissions, this could be a great opportunity for Bristol City FC to become the first club in the Football League to install rail seating, as well as becoming a showcase for other teams up and down the country.
“At last week’s Football League meeting there was clear strong support from clubs for the League to approach the authorities for a relaxation and change in the regulations.
“We’ve received feedback from our supporters who are keen for the option of safe standing and with the proposed redevelopment of Ashton Gate and Bristol Rugby’s move to the stadium this summer, this seems to be the right time to explore this further.”
Redevelopment of Ashton Gate Stadium – which from 2014/15 will play host to Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby – should begin this summer.
The all-seated Wedlock Stand will be replaced with a brand new stand, which could contain 2,202 rail seats to the rear of the stand behind the goal if regulations permit it.
Further redevelopment of the stadium in the Dolman Stand, to the side of the pitch, could see a further 1,568 rail seats incorporated in the stadium, which has been home to Bristol City FC for more than 100 years.
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