Burnley MP calls for safe standing at football in Commons debate
Burnley MP Julie Cooper has spoken in a Westminster debate calling for English Premier League and Championship clubs to be allowed to introduce safe standing.
The Football Supporters' Federation has long campaigned on this issue with many fans across a number of clubs showing high levels of support for this move.
As a result of more than 110,000 people signing the petition on the UK Government and Parliament petitions website calling for the introduction of safe standing, MPs were given the opportunity to discuss sports ground safety in more detail.
Speaking in the Commons, Clarets fan Mrs Cooper said: "On behalf of all Burnley football fans I must declare an interest because I am a season ticket holder.
"I support the introduction of safe standing areas. I have been going on Turf Moor since I was six years old and for many years, I stood on the terraces with my dad '‹and brother. The atmosphere was terrific even though, as a little girl, I was regularly lifted off my feet as the crowd surged forward.
"It was clearly right that steps were taken to make stadiums safer after the Hillsborough disaster. Now, however, it is time to revisit the issue. It is a fact that many fans prefer to have the option to stand; some fans would like to stand throughout the match and others would like to stand for parts of the action.
"In all-seater stadiums, the situation is that some fans stand for long periods, which leaves fans behind with no option but to stand as well, so large numbers of fans are standing with no rail to hold on to.
"In an animated crowd, there is a real chance that fans will fall forward over the seat into the next row, which could create a domino effect that pushes more people forward. It is incredibly dangerous. Introducing designated safe-standing areas with rails would be a sensible option for fans who wish to stand.
"I would like clubs to be given the right to introduce safe-standing areas as part of a package that would include a requirement to ensure that people in seated areas remain seated throughout the game. I would also like clubs to see it as an opportunity for some increased capacity and to offer less expensive match tickets.
"Football used to be the people’s game, but many people have been priced out. I want to see more families and children enjoying the beautiful game in the certain knowledge that their safety is prioritised."
The Labour MP also took the opportunity to pay tribute to Clarets manager Sean Dyche, the players and the board for securing Burnley’s place to compete in Europe for the first time in 51 years after a tremendous season at Turf Moor.