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UEFA to trial safe standing in England, Germany and France

Safe standing will be trialled in European club matches in England, Germany and France this season in a move which could see an end to a ban on standing introduced more than 30 years ago.

Standing at games was outlawed by UEFA following the tragedies of Hillsborough in 1989 and at Furiani in Corsica in 1992.

UEFA said Wednesday that safe standing has gradually returned “in certain national competitions”.

“Football supporters across Europe as well as clubs who regularly use standing facilities at domestic level have expressed increasing interest for UEFA to consider standing facilities at European matches,” said the body in a statement.

Fans include those of Borussia Dortmund whose famous “Yellow Wall” boasts 24,000 safe standing places.

The body’s executive committee decided therefore on Wednesday on a “standing room observation program in stadiums during the 2022/23 season”.

This will be limited to the three countries which already authorise such spaces — France, Germany and England.

“The objective is to assess if and under what conditions standing may be reintroduced in UEFA competitions in a safe manner,” added UEFA.

Safe standing will be allowed during the group stages and knockout phases up to and including the semi-finals of the UEFA men’s club competitions. 

The finals, however, are excluded.

All-seater stadiums have become the norm in recent decades following a series of disasters.

At the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough in Sheffield, 97 people were killed.

Nineteen fans died at Furiani during a French Cup semi-final in 1992.

The rule of 100% seats imposed by UEFA for its competitions became “obsolete” as stadiums were renovated.

“This is a historic victory for the European supporter movement,” said Gregor Weinreich, member of the Football Supporters Europe (FSE) group and coordinator of the Europe Wants to Stand campaign launched in 2019.

“We welcome UEFA’s move towards a fact-based security policy, taking into account the needs and expectations of active supporters.” 

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