Commenting on the news that a poll, run by the Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly, has shown overwhelming 88% support for safe standing amongst Liverpool fans, Dr David Webber of the University of Warwick's Department of Politics and International Studies said:
"The overwhelming support for safe standing from Liverpool fans is a huge step forward for spectator safety at England's football grounds.
"Of course, there is still a long way to go before we see rail seating approved and introduced in the Premier League. It was crucial however, that Hillsborough families, survivors and Liverpool fans were consulted in this way by the Spirit of Shankly.
"Neither standing nor the actions of Liverpool fans were to blame for the Hillsborough disaster and tragic events of 15 April 1989.
"I would overwhelmingly welcome the introduction of safe standing. That the technology now exists to allow fans to stand in safety should be embraced wholeheartedly by the authorities, clubs, and those with a duty of care to match-going supporters."
Writing last year for the Football Supporters Federation, Dr Webber, who researches the political economy of sport, argued:
"In terms of a radical reimagining of the way football supporters are treated in this and other countries, the introduction of safe standing remains of the utmost importance. If rolled out properly, and with the type of extensive and democratic dialogue in which Spirit of Shankly is looking to engage, the deeply ingrained attitudes faced by supporters of every club can finally be displaced.
"Far from guaranteeing the safety of supporters, as it is often claimed, all-seated areas can pose a serious risk of injury to fans during moments of celebration. Safe standing, on the other hand, means precisely what it promises: an opportunity for supporters to stand – and celebrate – in a safe environment."
Dr Webber's full article can be read by clicking here.
Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:
E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk