Chelsea v Liverpool to mark return of standing after near 30-year absence from top two tiers

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Manchester United installed 1,519 barriers seats at Old Trafford in the summer

After nearly 30 years, Chelsea's Premier League match against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge will mark the return to the English top flight.

All applications for safe standing trials have been approved by Premier League clubs Manchester United and Chelsea, Tottenham, Chelsea, and Chelsea.

Law has required that all-seater grounds be installed in the English football pyramid's first and second tiers since 1994.

Nigel Huddleston, sports minister, said that he was pleased to approve five clubs for licensing safe standing areas.

"It is now the right time to test safe standing in EFL Championship and Premier League before a large-scale rollout.

"Safety is paramount, and the SGSA [Sports Grounds Safety Authority] works hand-in-glove alongside the clubs to ensure that it happens.

"Fans deserve different ways to enjoy live matches and I will be following the progress of these trials closely."

Following the Taylor Report into 1989 Hillsborough, which claimed the lives of 97 Liverpool fans, standing in English football's top 2 divisions was banned.

Campaigners have been calling for the reintroduction of standing in recent seasons. To provide seating that can be converted into standing areas, rail or barrier seating was created.

Celtic, the Scottish Premiership side, opened a rail seating section in 2016. Although Scotland wasn't bound by the law banning standing areas in the top 2 divisions of England, its top flight required all-seater stadiums starting in 1998 and ending in 2011.

2018 saw new guidance by the SGSA (the body responsible for ground safety) that allowed rail seats to be used.

The Conservatives pledged to work towards safe standing areas in their 2019 manifesto. If the initial trials prove successful legislation could be introduced within the next few year for all stadiums in England’s top two divisions.

CFE Research will monitor the pilot and report back to the government.

Rail seating has been installed on the grounds of Premier League clubs Chelsea and Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United as well as Tottenham and Wolves.

Club criteria

Before a club can apply for standing areas, they must meet these criteria:

Before January 20, 2022, seats with barriers/independent barrier must have been installed in both the home and away sections.

Fans can choose to be seated (e.g. during play breaks) but the seats cannot lock in either the 'up or 'down position.

One person must have one space/seat.

The viewing standards and other fans must not be affected by the licensed standing areas, even disabled fans.

Fans must adhere to a code for conduct when they are in the licensed area.

Staff and stewards must receive training and briefing to ensure that only ticketholders are allowed to enter the licensed areas.

The CCTV system must cover all areas that are licensed.

The ground should consult its safety advisory group regarding plans for licensed standing areas.

Daniel Levy, chairman of Tottenham, said that the club was "delighted" to have been accepted as an early adopter for the standing areas.

Levy stated that "we are extremely proud" of our'safe sitting' design. It ensures comfort and safety whether seated or standing, while still maintaining the same aesthetics throughout the stadium.

Manchester United stated that the development could offer fans more options and improve safety in areas with a history of persistent standing.