Standing returns to football after 30 years - who is taking part and what are the new rules?

The first safe standing game was carried out at Liverpool vs Chelsea in January. Credit: PA

Designated standing areas are set to be brought back to the top flight of English football for the first time in 30 years.

The move was approved by the government after a successful pilot showed it that allowing standing areas could improve the safety of football games.

To ensure safety, clubs will have to adhere to strict safety regulations if they wish to offer standing areas.

Who's taking part?

Most Premier League and Champions League clubs are expected to introduce standing areas, with some already prepared.

Cardiff, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham took part in a safe-standing pilot in the second half of last season and Brentford, QPR and Wolves will now join those clubs in offering designated areas for home and away fans from the start of the 2022-23 season.Newcastle and Portsmouth have also said they're planning to make modifications to their stadiums to allow standing areas.

The standing areas will be in modified seating stands. Credit: PA

The rules currently only apply to domestic games, with a trial for international matches being carried out at an England vs Germany game in September.

The government also said Wembley is being adapted to allow some standing areas for domestic matches.

What are the new rules for the standing areas?

Clubs have to follow strict safety rules for standing areas.

Barriers will need to be erected around current seating areas to clearly mark the new areas.

Each supporter will be required to occupy the same area they would take if they were sitting, with a traceable, numbered ticket.The seats will still be usable if a fan wishes to sit down.

New stewards with enhanced training and increased CCTV will also be required.

This is partly so security officials can identify any congestion points developing in the crowd.

What did the report on standing games find?

The government pressed ahead with the plan after a pilot found, as long as the proper measures were in place, the safety of football games could be improved with designated safe standing areas.

The problem of people standing up during a game, especially at seats around the goals has long been a problem for stewards.

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With some people blocking other people's view and the possibility of fan surges during key moments it represented a safety risk.

By putting some fans in designated standing areas that are blocked off by barriers the report found it reduced safety issues in the seated areas.

The report, compiled by CFE Research, acknowledged the rise in anti-social behaviour and disorder at football matches during the trial period but said this was not attributable to the introduction of safe standing areas.

Pitch invasions marred a number of end-of-season matches, but the report found that such invasions were actually more difficult from safe standing areas because the barriers limit movement downwards towards the pitch.

The report found the barriers also help to protect against progressive crowd collapse, where supporters surge forward and push into people in the rows in front, creating a domino effect.

The report found if carried out properly safety at games could be improved. Credit: PA

It also found no evidence the safe standing areas led to an increase in standing in other parts of the stadium.

More than half of fans surveyed in the research said they felt safer with the introduction of safe standing areas, with only five per cent saying they felt less safe.

The pilot marked the end of a blanket ban on standing in the top two tiers of English football which had been in place for more than 25 years, with those clubs having been required to provide all-seated accommodation since August 1994 in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, where 97 Liverpool fans lost their lives.

It is understood Liverpool are not considering introducing safe standing for next season, but may extend or increase their existing rail seating provision having run a separate club pilot last season.

Campaigners have highlighted that leaving seats unlocked assists those wishing to climb onto the barriers, but the report did not recommend altering the advice that seats should remain unlocked, so that supporters have the option to sit during the match if they wish to.